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

Keep scrolling for more

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 And yet this haphazard film is a ride, a romantic provocation torn between cultural strife and individual striving. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Queen & Slim is an old-fashioned road picture set in a brutally modern America: Review," 25 Nov. 2019 Customers voiced frustration, complaining about the haphazard organization, particularly the website that crashed as Californians rushed to get information about the outages. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Has PG&E improved its communication during forced power outages?," 23 Oct. 2019 The only problem is that perfect rulebooks don’t exist, because natural language is far too complex and haphazard to be reduced to a rigid set of specifications. Quanta Magazine, "Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?," 17 Oct. 2019 What frustrated Walker was the haphazard nature of the PG&E outages. Los Angeles Times, "Scrambling to prep for an imminent blackout that took all day to arrive," 10 Oct. 2019 Gareth Southgate was left unimpressed by England's haphazard defensive display on Tuesday evening, as the Three Lions ran out 5-3 winners over Group A rivals Kosovo. SI.com, "Gareth Southgate Admits Concern Over England's Sloppy Defending in 5-3 Kosovo Victory," 11 Sep. 2019 For her, sometimes the conjugation was a haphazard intertwining, with loose swings—other times more planned and positive. Diane Williams, Harper's magazine, "Five Stories," 28 Oct. 2019 This all conspires to give the impression that Twitter, instead of merely commenting on the world, can actually influence it in a far more targeted way than, say, a haphazard bundle of Facebook ad buys during a major election. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 The plan, different from the club’s previous rather haphazard approach to transfers, kicked into motion during the summer and saw the arrival of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, as well as the partial clearing of deadwood. SI.com, "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Insists 'Structure Is Right' at Man Utd & He's Planning for the Long-Term," 17 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about haphazard

Time Traveler for haphazard

Time Traveler

The first known use of haphazard was in 1569

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about haphazard

Statistics for haphazard

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazardly. Accessed 5 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on haphazard

What made you want to look up haphazard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to accept, comply, or submit

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!