- (of building materials) lacking uniformity of dimensions: random shingles.
- (of ashlar) laid without continuous courses.
- constructed or applied without regularity: random bond.
- unknown, unidentified, or suspiciously out of place: A couple of random guys showed up at the party.
- odd or unpredictable, often in an amusing way: my totally random life.
- a person or thing that is unknown, unidentified, or suspiciously out of place.
- a person or thing that is odd or unpredictable.
Origin of random
British Dictionary definitions for at random
- having a value which cannot be determined but only described probabilisticallya random variable
- chosen without regard to any characteristics of the individual members of the population so that each has an equal chance of being selectedrandom sampling
Word Origin for random
Word Origin and History for at random
"having no definite aim or purpose," 1650s, from at random (1560s), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"), alteration of Middle English noun randon "impetuosity, speed" (c.1300), from Old French randon "rush, disorder, force, impetuosity," from randir "to run fast," from Frankish *rant "a running" or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *randa (cf. Old High German rennen "to run," Old English rinnan "to flow, to run;" see run (v.)).
In 1980s U.S. college student slang it began to acquire a sense of "inferior, undesirable." (A 1980 William Safire column describes it as a college slang noun meaning "person who does not belong on our dormitory floor.") Random access in reference to computer memory is recorded from 1953. Related: Randomly; randomness.
Science definitions for at random
Idioms and Phrases with at random (1 of 2)
Without order or fixed purpose, haphazardly, as in Jackson Pollock dropped paints on canvas seemingly at random. Originally this phrase meant “very speedily” and “heedlessly.” Shakespeare had the present usage in 1 Henry VI (5:3): “He talks at random; sure the man is mad.” [Late 1500s]
Idioms and Phrases with at random (2 of 2)
see at random.