arbitrary

[ ahr-bi-trer-ee ]
/ ˈɑr bɪˌtrɛr i /

adjective

subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion: an arbitrary decision.
decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by a law or statute.
having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical: an arbitrary government.
capricious; unreasonable; unsupported: an arbitrary demand for payment.
Mathematics. undetermined; not assigned a specific value: an arbitrary constant.

noun, plural ar·bi·trar·ies.

arbitraries, Printing. (in Britain) peculiar(def 9).

QUIZZES

Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
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Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of arbitrary

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin arbitrārius uncertain (i.e., depending on an arbiter's decision). See arbiter, -ary

OTHER WORDS FROM arbitrary

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for arbitrary

British Dictionary definitions for arbitrary

arbitrary
/ (ˈɑːbɪtrərɪ) /

adjective

founded on or subject to personal whims, prejudices, etc; capricious
having only relative application or relevance; not absolute
(of a government, ruler, etc) despotic or dictatorial
maths not representing any specific valuean arbitrary constant
law (esp of a penalty or punishment) not laid down by statute; within the court's discretion

Derived forms of arbitrary

arbitrarily, adverbarbitrariness, noun

Word Origin for arbitrary

C15: from Latin arbitrārius arranged through arbitration, uncertain
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