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 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 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 Nacre layers’ thicknesses varied by up to 40 nanometers on average, but not in a haphazard way. Leila Sloman, Popular Mechanics, 28 Feb. 2022 Even with those opinions on the books, the pandemic—or really, the haphazard response to it—has shifted people’s perceptions of what a city can be. Adam Rogers, Wired, 30 Dec. 2021 On Tuesday, senior Pentagon leaders said the haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan was a failure but refused to fault President Biden during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2021 The latest revelations about Mr. Trump’s own laxity with classified information and his haphazard adherence to federal record-keeping laws have drawn cries of hypocrisy from Democrats. New York Times, 18 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Independent reporting from inside Ukraine indicates Russian forces have scattered mines in a haphazard and disorganized fashion across civilian regions. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 The approach to how data is gathered can be across the spectrum, ranging from haphazard to intentional design. Howard Rosen, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Readers will come to see that Stringfellow is demonstrating the erratic movements of history, the false starts and reversals and, yes, the moments of progress that are reflected in our haphazard march toward realizing King’s vision for America. Washington Post, 12 Apr. 2022 On Tuesday, senior Pentagon leaders said the haphazard withdrawal was a failure but refused to fault President Joe Biden during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Arkansas Online, 30 Sep. 2021 Despite a haphazard shooting night for the Knicks, the Bulls’ inability to protect the ball — stepping out of bounds without contact, fouling 3-point shooters, fumbling passes into the backcourt — continued to gift their opponent with opportunities. Julia Poe, chicagotribune.com, 29 Mar. 2022 Yet his haphazard thwarting of random street crime in the chaos of Gotham City gets sharply focussed on one criminal, the Riddler (Paul Dano), who, in the opening act of his crime spree, virtually summons him. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 9 Mar. 2022 Belts, long '70s neck scarves, socks, straps, badges, and stripes — all in multitudinous color — gave styles a haphazard feel. Thomas Adamson, USA TODAY, 8 Mar. 2022 His interactions playing against Smith — twice at South Dakota State and again at UNLV — led him to believe Smith’s haphazard roster could compete. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Mar. 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.

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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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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 27 May. 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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