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 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

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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 Customer trust is one of your company’s biggest assets, so don’t risk it with a haphazard customer data protection plan. Blake Morgan, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2021 In fact, the Britons’ whole escapade was a bit haphazard from beginning to end. Anne Thériault, Longreads, 14 May 2021 The process was first developed by the French, in the 1970s, but has remained somewhat haphazard and unpredictable. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 12 May 2021 Women dropped out of the U.S. labor force in April for the first time since January, signaling the jobs recovery may be more haphazard than expected even as more schools reopen and vaccinations accelerate. Catarina Saraiva, Fortune, 7 May 2021 The stipulations are following the same haphazard pattern that has characterized so much of the U.S. pandemic response, varying company by company, state by state, and subject to the vagaries of local politics. BostonGlobe.com, 11 Apr. 2021 The entrance to National Technical Systems (NTS), on the outskirts of Anaheim, California, is marked by a sheet of four-by-eight plywood bearing a haphazard array of various metal signs. Mark Synnott, Wired, 13 Apr. 2021 Experts warned fruitlessly that the government’s haphazard approach would bring a crisis when a new wave appeared. New York Times, 9 Apr. 2021 Why jeopardize a defensive stand with a haphazard low-percentage shot? Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just as with contact tracing and exposure apps—which Americans failed to adopt en masse—the rollout is haphazard, the technology unproven, and the privacy issues obvious. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 31 Mar. 2021 Data collected by the state and nursing homes at the start of the pandemic was haphazard, though. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 29 Mar. 2021 Yet, there is still a danger that the rapid, organic growth of EVs will result in a haphazard and fractured system for battery re-use and recycling – an anti-system – that is unsafe, inefficient, wasteful, and non-compliant. Leanne Kemp, Forbes, 12 May 2021 The lockdown comes amid public criticism of the government's haphazard and inconsistent measures to deal with the pandemic. Eileen Ng, Star Tribune, 10 May 2021 Homeless advocates and researchers say the pandemic is exposing a longstanding problem: the haphazard and often nonexistent accounting of homeless deaths and their causes. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 14 Mar. 2021 Training is haphazard, and corruption ever-present. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Apr. 2021 But a haphazard and too-slow transition from fossil fuels is already restructuring the global economy. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 22 Mar. 2021 Republicans accused the executives of haphazard policies that censor conservative voices and invite minors to access inappropriate and unsafe content. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2021

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

30 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for haphazard



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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