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 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, "Vaccine requirements spread in US, sowing concern on overreach," 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, "Here’s What It Takes to Fly a Drone on Mount Everest," 13 Apr. 2021 Experts warned fruitlessly that the government’s haphazard approach would bring a crisis when a new wave appeared. New York Times, "Complacency and Missteps Deepen a Covid-19 Crisis in India," 9 Apr. 2021 Why jeopardize a defensive stand with a haphazard low-percentage shot? Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "NBA All-Star Game: Damian Lillard scores 32 points, wows with half court bombs as Dame Time moves to primetime," 8 Mar. 2021 Achieving social responsibility is a truly noble goal, but Disney, along with many other organizations, needs to fix its haphazard approach that meanders aimlessly through the cancel culture minefield. Gene Del Vecchio, Forbes, "Disney’s Cancel Culture Is Confused, Hypocritical, And Dangerous – Lacking Sound Management," 11 Mar. 2021 This haphazard approach will mean deaths among high-risk people around the world who could’ve been saved by doses that went to teenage Americans this summer. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "The Summer the World Comes Back," 19 Feb. 2021 Where Trump only seemed to offer shrugging, haphazard leadership, Cuomo made the point of turning his regular addresses into pep talks for those left isolated by the pandemic. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Andrew Cuomo Wishes He Were Ron DeSantis," 17 Feb. 2021 Nashville started its lottery system to avoid more haphazard ways of distributing leftover shots. Bernard Condon, Star Tribune, "Lucky few hit COVID-19 vaccine jackpot for rare extra doses," 22 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Training is haphazard, and corruption ever-present. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "A woman’s death in Mexico fueled outrage. Can it fuel police reform?," 8 Apr. 2021 But a haphazard and too-slow transition from fossil fuels is already restructuring the global economy. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Can OPEC Rescue the Planet?," 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, "Lawmakers warn Google, Facebook, Twitter more regulation is coming," 25 Mar. 2021 In July, with cases rising again, critics panned what was seen as a haphazard and inconsistent approach to restrictions and Netanyahu's approval ratings plunged. Hadas Gold, CNN, "Netanyahu credits himself with bringing Israel 'back to life.' Now he hopes his Covid-19 campaign will save his political future," 22 Mar. 2021 The president goes out on a seamy and haphazard note, pardoning those who did crimes on his behalf. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Final Act of Extraordinary Corruption," 20 Jan. 2021 And in Latin America, rampant COVID-19 outbreaks and haphazard governance have left a trail of death and economic ruin; the region’s economy is expected to shrink nearly twice as much as the world average. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Poor countries avert worst of pandemic, but not its economic fallout," 23 Dec. 2020 Early attempts, however, were sporadic and haphazard. Washington Post, "How (and why) to start a journaling practice with kids," 2 Dec. 2020 The Trump Administration’s trade measures have been marred by abrupt and haphazard implementations. Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker, "Will Trump’s Broken Promises to Working-Class Voters Cost Him the Election?," 31 Oct. 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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 12 May. 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

Comments on haphazard

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