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 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 Arab areas, clustered around the city’s old centre, are haphazard and dilapidated. The Economist, "Israel’s Arab citizens could hold the key to political change," 5 Sep. 2019 For now, many of the Democratic candidates are characterizing Mr. Trump’s trade policy as haphazard and inept. New York Times, "Democrats’ 2020 Problem: How to Be Tougher on Trade Than Trump," 10 Aug. 2019 Crime reduction is not something that is going to be haphazard. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Beat by beat, street by street, Birmingham police use algorithms to fight crime in age of analytics," 6 Sep. 2019 Whitman was a multiple-notebook person, an exuberant and haphazard note-taker. Anna Russell, The New Yorker, "Can Bullet Journaling Save You?," 7 Sep. 2019 Some of the work seemed haphazard, and machine bundling of the wires left them open to short circuits. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The Greatest Leap, part 1: How the Apollo fire propelled NASA to the Moon," 16 July 2019 But despite the outwardly sleek online operation, Bessrochka’s offline tactics are more haphazard. Washington Post, "Russian protesters aided by digital tools, self-organizing," 6 Sep. 2019 Inside the stock is haphazard, unalphabetical, and sometimes in piles on the floor. The Economist, "Obituary: Richard Booth died on August 20th," 29 Aug. 2019 The years that followed were a bit haphazard, as some teams adopted NOBs and others didn't. Paul Lukas, SI.com, "The History of Nicknames on Jerseys in Baseball, Before MLB Players' Weekend," 23 Aug. 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.

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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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Statistics for haphazard

Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for haphazard

The first known use of haphazard was in 1569

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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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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 engage in dissolute behavior

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