random

noun
ran·​dom | \ ˈran-dəm \

Definition of random

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a haphazard course
at random
: without definite aim, direction, rule, or method subjects chosen at random

random

adjective

Definition of random (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern
b : made, done, or chosen at random read random passages from the book
2a : relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence random processes
b : being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence a random sample also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements random sampling

random

adverb

Definition of random (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a random manner

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Other Words from random

Adjective

randomly adverb
randomness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for random

Adjective

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

Examples of random in a Sentence

Adjective

a random sequence of letters A random sample of doctors from around the country were selected for the study. We tasted the wines in random order and then rated each. a random collection of buttons She collects random photographs that she finds in antique shops. Pick a random word on the page. The computer program generates a list of random numbers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Normally, axions just hit at random, so the swing is always moving but not actually swinging. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Pulsars could convert dark matter into something we could see," 20 Dec. 2018 Instead, the game has playlists, which serve up modes seemingly at random. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Red Dead Online’s battle royale mode is slow, tense, and nothing like Fortnite," 29 Nov. 2018 Making a passphrase random is only half of the solution, though. Henry Williams, WSJ, "Forget Passwords. It’s Time for Passphrases.," 18 Sep. 2018 File this under random: Many people with a herniated disc don’t have any symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "You Could Have a Herniated Disc Without Even Realizing It," 11 Sep. 2018 Then, create random dot designs on each nail using a dotting tool and shade Tribal Textiles. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "How to DIY a Halloween Themed Manicure," 1 Oct. 2018 That code was replicated on as many as 17 state lottery systems as MUSL integrated the random-number software Tipton designed. Jason Clayworth, USA TODAY, "The untold story of how a gaming geek with a checkered past pulled off the biggest lottery scam in U.S. history," 26 Mar. 2018 Those customers, who were chosen at random, were asked about recent travel experiences. Kate Silver, chicagotribune.com, "Airline customer satisfaction is higher than you might think, a survey indicates," 7 May 2018 Those customers, who were chosen at random, were asked about recent travel experiences. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Airline customer satisfaction is higher than you might think, a survey indicates," 7 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Police don't know if the victims were targeted or shot at random. Todd Richmond And James Nord, Fox News, "Wisconsin workplace shooting suspect had revoked gun permit," 21 Sep. 2018 His analysis questioned whether some participants had actually been assigned diets at random. Samantha Schmidt, ajc, "Why a major paper on the Mediterranean diet was just retracted and replaced," 14 June 2018 In this case, the photon sets off one of the detectors at random. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Conservation of energy used to parallelize quantum key distribution," 17 Dec. 2018 Run through the city’s Department of Construction and Inspections (DPCI), the system cycles through the city’s entire rental stock every 10 years, checking units in all rental buildings at random. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Seattle’s mandatory rental inspection law challenged in lawsuit," 6 Dec. 2018 On Friday afternoon, a knife-wielding attacker parked his truck near a popular city pedestrian mall, set it alight, and then proceeded to stab passersby at random. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Why? Gun control.," 11 Nov. 2018 Willemen was one of 1,200 members of the public chosen at random to attend the event. Rose Minutaglio, Town & Country, "A Guest at Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Reveals What You Didn't See On Camera," 12 Oct. 2018 Sixty sectors, each a tenth of an acre, are selected at random. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "The Vanishing City," 13 Aug. 2018 That would avoid the problem of using a virus that inserts genes pretty much at random. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "Swift Gene-Editing Method May Revolutionize Treatments for Cancer and Infectious Diseases," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'random.' 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 random

Noun

1561, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1618, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for random

Noun

Middle English, succession, surge, from Anglo-French randun, from Old French randir to run, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German rinnan to run — more at run

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Statistics for random

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for random

The first known use of random was in 1561

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More Definitions for random

random

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of random

: chosen, done, etc., without a particular plan or pattern

random

adjective
ran·​dom | \ ˈran-dəm \

Kids Definition of random

: lacking a clear plan, purpose, or pattern I read a random selection of poems.

Other Words from random

randomly adverb
randomness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on random

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with random

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for random

Spanish Central: Translation of random

Nglish: Translation of random for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of random for Arabic Speakers

Comments on random

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