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

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 However, hunters can’t be haphazard about their approach to hunting a mature buck. Frank Sargeant, al, "Harvest a New Year Buck," 27 Dec. 2020 Trillions of dollars have been sent from Washington, but in such a haphazard way that many families still worry about where their next meal will come from. James Piereson, National Review, "Give to Charity over Political Campaigns," 6 Dec. 2020 Even compared to the mess that was getting college football season launched, trying to play non-conference games this week as the case numbers rise nationally seems haphazard and reckless. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As college basketball tips amid a swirling pandemic, few believe it's a good idea," 24 Nov. 2020 The extracellular matrix, which was initially laid down in a haphazard fashion, is broken down and replaced in a more durable way. Matthew Steinhauser, The Conversation, "Why do older people heal more slowly?," 24 Nov. 2020 In some cases, the rush to oust political appointees has been confoundingly haphazard. Anchorage Daily News, "In Trump’s final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal," 14 Nov. 2020 In some cases, the rush to oust political appointees has been confoundingly haphazard. Josh Dawsey , Juliet Eilperin, Star Tribune, "In Trump's final days, a 30-year-old aide purges officials seen as insufficiently loyal," 13 Nov. 2020 Trump has largely sidestepped that process — instead relying on a more haphazard approach that has favored candidates whose cases have resonated with him personally or that have been championed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian West. Jill Colvin, Star Tribune, "Trump expected to flex pardon powers on way out door," 2 Dec. 2020 The market for backup centers has been somewhat haphazard, with some signing bigger contracts (Spurs center Jakob Poeltl ended up re-signing for three-years, $27 million), and others settling for minimum deals. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "How Mason Plumlee could make life easier for Detroit Pistons rookie Killian Hayes," 26 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Both doctors eventually received the vaccine, despite the rollout being haphazard. Sig Christenson, ExpressNews.com, "COVID inoculations at BAMC ‘like a flash mob vaccination,’ doctor says," 28 Dec. 2020 So, some haphazard photo from a family vacation or college graduation? Vogue, "British Royal Christmas Cards Throughout History," 22 Dec. 2020 Kids and families have suffered as a result of sudden school closures and haphazard reopenings. Charlie Baker, WSJ, "Americans Need Help While Awaiting a Vaccine," 7 Dec. 2020 In its place has emerged a haphazard, layered mess of rules and restrictions. Erika D. Smith Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: California politicians can’t explain their COVID-19 rules. There’s a reason for that," 4 Dec. 2020 If that seems chaotic and haphazard, welcome to the 2020-21 college basketball season. Doug Feinberg, courant.com, "Women’s hoops coaches find creative ways to fill schedules," 18 Nov. 2020 The most conspicuous element of Trump’s haphazard election challenge is its utter predictability. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: The boy who cried fraud is running out of options," 18 Nov. 2020 Packer, who studies group dynamics and behavioral psychology, said national leadership, political polarization and disinformation have all contributed to the confusion and haphazard support of measures like masking. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mask-wearing has been politicized in Wisconsin. Most people still try to do ‘the friendly thing’," 8 Nov. 2020 The consequences were, in part, the obstacles and obstructions placed in the way of his haphazard and ineffectual policymaking. Samuel Moyn, The New York Review of Books, "How Trump Won," 9 Nov. 2020

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

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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