What does arbitrary mean?

Definitions for arbitrary
ˈɑr bɪˌtrɛr iar·bi·tra·ry

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. arbitraryadjective

    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. arbitraryadjective

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

    Etymology: From arbitrarie, arbitrarius, from arbiter

  2. arbitraryadjective

    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)

    Etymology: From arbitrarie, arbitrarius, from arbiter

  3. arbitraryadjective

    Any and all possible.

    The equation is true for an arbitrary value of x.

    Etymology: From arbitrarie, arbitrarius, from arbiter

  4. arbitraryadjective

    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)

    Etymology: From arbitrarie, arbitrarius, from arbiter

Webster Dictionary

  1. Arbitraryadjective

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

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

  2. Arbitraryadjective

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

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

  3. Arbitraryadjective

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

    Etymology: [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

How to pronounce arbitrary?

How to say arbitrary in sign language?


  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

Examples of arbitrary in a Sentence

  1. Carlos Ghosn:

    My arrest this morning is outrageous and arbitrary, it is part of another attempt by some individuals at Nissan to silence me by misleading the prosecutors. Why arrest me except to try to break me? I will not be broken. I am innocent of the groundless charges and accusations against me.

  2. Isik Tuzun:

    Changes in school types were decided by local bureaucrats in a rather arbitrary manner, (It) has definitely been rushed.

  3. Susan Weinstock:

    I don't want this to be an opportunity to extend age discrimination, this should be based on health rather than an arbitrary cutoff based on age.

  4. Composition Joy Karega:

    I will challenge the college’s decision and assault on my substantive rights through all the avenues I have available to me, the Oberlin community doesn’t deserve this racist, arbitrary attack which has damaged the name and reputation of ‘Oberlin.’.

  5. Dana Sabraw:

    The fundamental premise of the lawsuit is that there's an unlawful separation practice initiated by this administration, the June 26 date is completely arbitrary viewed in that light.

Images & Illustrations of arbitrary

  1. arbitraryarbitraryarbitraryarbitraryarbitrary

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Translations for arbitrary

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    take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom
    • A. abhor
    • B. summon
    • C. abduct
    • D. famish

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