hap·​haz·​ard | \ (ˌ)hap-ˈha-zərd How to pronounce haphazard (audio) \

Definition of haphazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by lack of plan, order, or direction a haphazard assemblage of furniture not … a collection of haphazard schemes, but rather the orderly component parts of a connected and logical whole— F. D. Roosevelt



Definition of haphazard (Entry 2 of 2)

: chance sense 1 this little remnant preserved by the haphazard of chance— Edith Hamilton take our principles at haphazard— John Locke

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Other Words from haphazard


haphazard adverb
haphazardly adverb
haphazardness noun
haphazardry \ (ˌ)hap-​ˈha-​zər-​drē How to pronounce haphazardry (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for haphazard


random, haphazard, casual mean determined by accident rather than design. random stresses lack of definite aim, fixed goal, or regular procedure. a random selection of books haphazard applies to what is done without regard for regularity or fitness or ultimate consequence. a haphazard collection of rocks casual suggests working or acting without deliberation, intention, or purpose. a casual collector

Did You Know?


The "hap" in "haphazard" comes from an English word that means "happening," as well as "chance or fortune," and that derives from the Old Norse word happ, meaning "good luck." Perhaps it’s no accident that "hazard," as well, has its own connotations of luck: while it now refers commonly to something that presents danger, at one time it referred to a dice game similar to craps. (The name ultimately derives from the Arabic al-zahr, or "the die.") "Haphazard" first entered English as a noun (again meaning "chance") in the 16th century, and soon afterward was being used as an adjective to describe things with no apparent logic or order.

Examples of haphazard in a Sentence

Adjective We were given a haphazard tour of the city. considering the haphazard way you measured the ingredients, it's a wonder the cookies came out this good
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The construction process was haphazard and large retailers that signed on, including Barneys New York, filed for bankruptcy. Natalie Wong, Bloomberg.com, "American Dream Leaves Clan Behind Mall Empire Mired in Debt," 11 June 2020 Ian Bolliger, one of the Berkeley researchers, acknowledged the difficulty in obtaining reliable numbers for coronavirus infections given the haphazard pattern of testing for the virus. Laura Meckler, BostonGlobe.com, "Shutdowns prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the US, study finds," 8 June 2020 The haphazard way of some in dealing with the virus is serving to create as many an economic and social casualty. al, "Academic distancing and the absurdity of ‘Wait and See’ -- A social commentary," 28 May 2020 The primary goal was to spread people out to increase the distance between them, and to reduce the chance of haphazard contacts. Dallas News, "Vari’s work-from-home business is booming, but it’s still bringing workers back to Coppell," 21 May 2020 But some experts said those efforts, while heartening, may be too haphazard to make a dent in the problem. Anchorage Daily News, "Inside America’s mask crunch: A slow government reaction and an industry wary of liability," 3 Apr. 2020 Many expressed outrage at a seemingly haphazard process. Anna Kuchment, Dallas News, "Approval of new antiviral drug brings hope and confusion," 9 May 2020 Those factors give the South a special vulnerability, as did the haphazard response from some governors as the disease began to course through the country. Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg.com, "The South, Sickest Part of a Sick America, Falls Prey to Virus," 7 May 2020 But a haphazard reopening could cause a second wave of infections that might be more catastrophic to his chances than the current situation. cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine faced pressure to rapidly scale back coronavirus restrictions. He didn’t cave.," 27 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The media response to these debacles points to a wearying cycle of haphazard attempts to address disparities in the food industry over the years. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Table Stays White," 16 June 2020 And given both Justin Timberlake’s somnolent 2018 performance and Maroon 5 and Travis Scott’s haphazard, cringe-inducing celebration of Adam Levine’s chest tattoos, the past few halftime shows have offered plenty of room for improvement. Lindsay Zoladz, New York Times, "Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl? It’s the Role She Was Born to Play," 30 Jan. 2020 There were haphazard attempts at trailing back in transition. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers’ defense ‘a concern,' but they insist it will get better with time," 7 Nov. 2019 Aleksandr Golovin curled home a wonderful free-kick after haphazard defending from Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny to level six minutes later. Afp, chicagotribune.com, "Europa League Recap: Arsenal rout CSKA, Atletico, RB Leipzig, Lazio take victories," 5 Apr. 2018 The system now is a haphazard, on-the-ground monitoring network used to track greenhouse gases. John Fialka, Scientific American, "Meet the Satellites that Can Pinpoint Methane and Carbon Dioxide Leaks," 9 Mar. 2018 Winfrey, who was first elected as city clerk in 2005, has come under fire multiple times over the years for running a haphazard and error-prone election process. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit City Clerk announces new re-evaluation plan for all 3,000 election poll workers," 27 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haphazard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of haphazard


1576, in the meaning defined above


1569, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for haphazard

Noun and Adjective

hap entry 1 + hazard

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Time Traveler for haphazard

Time Traveler

The first known use of haphazard was in 1569

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Statistics for haphazard

Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for haphazard


How to pronounce haphazard (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of haphazard

: having no plan, order, or direction


hap·​haz·​ard | \ hap-ˈha-zərd How to pronounce haphazard (audio) \

Kids Definition of haphazard

: marked by lack of plan, order, or direction We took a haphazard route.

Other Words from haphazard

haphazardly adverb

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