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

Other Words from haphazard


haphazard adverb
haphazardly adverb
haphazardness noun
haphazardry \ (ˌ)hap-​ˈha-​zər-​drē How to pronounce haphazard (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 also 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, meaning "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 Prior to any structured training, many runners are fairly haphazard in their approach to running, putting in varying amounts of volume and intensity depending on mood, weather, and the like. Luke Humphrey, Outside Online, 6 Aug. 2020 Former officials who spoke with The Post said Tesla’s haphazard approach has grated on some NHTSA staff, and the enforcement reflects an attempt at a course correction. Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2022 By comparison, this coronavirus’s spread is still too haphazard, too unpredictable. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 23 May 2022 The decision to pursue the sale followed an audit that found the city manages its streetlights in a haphazard way, with not enough crews to sufficiently maintain and repair them. Wilborn Nobles, ajc, 16 May 2022 This haphazard approach also endangered thousands of Afghans who earned the right to move to the U.S. with their families after working for the American government, most notably as interpreters. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 10 May 2022 This uncertainty has led to a haphazard situation for many companies and a confusing one for employees. Chandra Steele, PCMAG, 4 May 2022 Carles is famous not only for creating iconic fragrances, such as Ma Griffe and Miss Dior, but for bringing some method to the haphazard madness of composing perfumes, which used to rely primarily on happy accidents. Genevieve Fullan, Longreads, 12 Apr. 2022 Many of the artifacts that remain in the public mind — say, a video of a woman in sunglasses mooing while holding a hamburger — are haphazard and frivolous, which makes the internet a poor place to locate meaning. New York Times, 14 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Vaccines were becoming available, but the distribution was haphazard; reports had spread of elderly people, some of them in wheelchairs and makeshift beds, waiting all night to get inoculated. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 In America, coordination within the health care system was haphazard. New York Times, 15 May 2022 The Bucks took their first stab in the opening quarter after Coby White fouled Connaughton on a haphazard 3-point attempt, gifting the first three points of an eventual 15-0 run. Julia Poe, chicagotribune.com, 23 Mar. 2022 Brands was one of many members of the sporting side of the club—including managers, coaches and technical staff—to leave in recent times amid what has been a haphazard, ineffective and expensive approach to recruiting players and back room staff. James Nalton, Forbes, 2 July 2022 Roughly 13 million tourists visited Notre-Dame every year before the fire, snaking in long haphazard lines in front and crowding narrow streets around it. New York Times, 27 June 2022 The result, though, is a haphazard system for gauging whether or not something is worth your time. Jeva Lange, The Week, 3 Sep. 2021 Even shows that might appear silly or spontaneous are far from haphazard. Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 The prime attraction is guitars—including folky varieties such as Dobro, lap steel, and baritone guitar—that interweave with the haphazard, rhythmic grace of rustling branches. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 28 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for haphazard


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

More from Merriam-Webster on haphazard

Nglish: Translation of haphazard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haphazard for Arabic Speakers


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