- proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.
- Statistics. of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.
- Building Trades.
- (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.
- something that is random, or a random state or condition: different statistical methods used to estimate randoms.
- a person or thing that is unknown, unidentified, or suspiciously out of place.
- a person or thing that is odd or unpredictable.
- Chiefly British. bank3(def 7b).
- Building Trades. without uniformity: random-sized slates.
- at random, without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement; in a haphazard way: Contestants were chosen at random from the studio audience.
Origin of random
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsaimless, unplanned, irregular, accidental, incidental, indiscriminate, arbitrary, odd, adventitious, casual, contingent, desultory, fluky, fortuitous, hit-or-miss, promiscuous, purposeless, slapdash, spot, stray
Examples from the Web for random
But by Wednesday evening there was little in the way of organized protests or random unrest in the area.St. Louis Shooting Is the Anti-Ferguson
December 25, 2014
He did not shout “God is great,” but his random act served the purposes of ISIS almost as well.France’s Wave of Crazy-Terror Christmas Attacks
December 24, 2014
Random House is also covering the legal fees of an innocent man called Barry who was caught up in the storm.
Random House agreed that all future editions of the book will state that “Barry” was a pseudonym.
Poll a bunch of random youths today, and nine out of ten will say they know the name Robert Downey Jr.The Renegade: Robert Downey Sr. on His Classic Films, Son’s Battle with Drugs, and Bill Cosby
November 26, 2014
She interrupted him quickly, and was so agitated that she stammered her words at random.The Dream
Some of our men were firing their guns at random into the underbrush.In the Valley
The names of Ned are taken a good deal at random; and, doubtless, are often misspelled.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
I answered at random and longed for the meal to end —until I remembered my lecture.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
But Mr. Perkins does not take the word of a stranger at random.Concerning Cats
Helen M. Winslow
- lacking any definite plan or prearranged order; haphazarda random selection
- 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
- informal (of a person) unknownsome random guy waiting for a bus
- at random in a purposeless fashion; not following any prearranged order
Word Origin and History for 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.
- Relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.
- Relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely, as in the testing of a blood sample for the presence of a substance.
Idioms and Phrases with random
see at random.