What does arbitrary mean?

Definitions for arbitraryˈɑr bɪˌtrɛr i

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word arbitrary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. arbitrary(adj)

    based on or subject to individual discretion or preference or sometimes impulse or caprice

    "an arbitrary decision"; "the arbitrary rule of a dictator"; "an arbitrary penalty"; "of arbitrary size and shape"; "an arbitrary choice"; "arbitrary division of the group into halves"


  1. arbitrary(Adjective)

    Based on individual discretion or judgment; not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random.

  2. arbitrary(Adjective)

    Determined by impulse rather than reason; heavy-handed.

    "The Russian trials were Stalin's purges, with which he attempted to consolidate his power. Like most people in the West, I believed these show trials to be the arbitrary acts of a cruel dictator." (Max Born, Letters to Einstein)

  3. arbitrary(Adjective)

    Any and all possible.

    The equation is true for an arbitrary value of x.

  4. arbitrary(Adjective)

    Determined by independent arbiter.

    To secure food safety, there should first be a national standard to arbitrarily state what is wholesome and what is not; second, the final buyer should know exactly what he is purchasing. (The World's Work ...: a history of our time)

  5. Origin: From arbitrarie, arbitrarius, from arbiter

Webster Dictionary

  1. Arbitrary(adj)

    depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment

  2. Arbitrary(adj)

    exercised according to one's own will or caprice, and therefore conveying a notion of a tendency to abuse the possession of power

  3. Arbitrary(adj)

    despotic; absolute in power; bound by no law; harsh and unforbearing; tyrannical; as, an arbitrary prince or government

  4. Origin: [L. arbitrarius, fr. arbiter: cf. F. arbitraire. See Arbiter.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Arbitrary

    är′bi-trar-i, adj. not bound by rules: despotic, absolute, arising from accident rather than from rule, varying, uncertain.—adv. Ar′bitrarily.—n. Ar′bitrariness. [L. arbitrarius, arbiter.]

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'arbitrary' in Adjectives Frequency: #980


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of arbitrary in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of arbitrary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Mortimer Adler:

    Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.

  2. George Jean Nathan:

    Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

  3. Sidy Diagne:

    This is the victory of law over power, the victory of law over the arbitrary.

  4. Matthieu Reeb:

    No finding that this was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner.

  5. Defense Secretary Ash Carter:

    Sequestration is a sudden and arbitrary cut in the defense budget that we can't predict.

Images & Illustrations of arbitrary

  1. arbitraryarbitraryarbitrary

Translations for arbitrary

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"arbitrary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/arbitrary>.

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