[ ahr-bi-trer-ee ]
/ ˈɑr bɪˌtrɛr i /
Save This Word!
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.
based on whim or personal preference, without reason or pattern; random: This is an unusual encyclopedia, arranged by topics in a more or less arbitrary order.
Mathematics. undetermined; not assigned a specific value: an arbitrary constant.
noun, plural ar·bi·trar·ies.
arbitraries, Printing. (in Britain) peculiar (def. 9).
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?
Origin of arbitrary
OTHER WORDS FROM arbitraryar·bi·trar·i·ly [ahr-bi-trair-uh-lee] /ˌɑr bɪˈtrɛər ə li/ adverbar·bi·trar·i·ness, nounnon·ar·bi·trar·y, adjectiveun·ar·bi·trar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for arbitrary
/ (ˈɑːbɪtrərɪ) /
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 arbitraryarbitrarily, adverbarbitrariness, noun
Word Origin for arbitrary
C15: from Latin arbitrārius arranged through arbitration, uncertain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012