ran·​dom | \ ˈran-dəm How to pronounce random (audio) \

Definition of random

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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



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



Definition of random (Entry 3 of 3)

: in a random manner

Other Words from random


randomly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for random


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Your cryptography is thus only as strong as the random that supports it. Denis Mandich, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 Each kentuki has two users: the keeper, who owns the toy, and the dweller, a volunteer assigned at random who controls it remotely, via software interface, from elsewhere in the world. J. Robert Lennon, New York Times, 5 May 2020 The village of Blackhall Colliery in County Durham became a global spectacle when large sums of money began appearing at random near the main street in 2014. Fox News, 15 Jan. 2020 Tilleson said the city and police expects to conduct up to four random directed patrol missions in East Tosa in the coming year. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2019 Oregon State is also launching a four-week effort to collect samples at random from nearly 1,000 residents in Corvallis. oregonlive, 18 Apr. 2020 This is typically slow because the electron has to hop from site to site in a kind of random, drift-like fashion. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, 13 Mar. 2020 What her doctor said next surprised her: Amanda had likely entered perimenopause, the five to 10 years leading up to menopause when hormones start to go haywire, spiking and dipping seemingly at random. Meryl Davids Landau, Woman's Day, 27 Jan. 2020 Even worse, the buggers appear at random from a draw bag as your exploration of the ship makes more of a ruckus. Dan Thurot, Ars Technica, 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Your driveway is not a community resource for others to randomly park in and my plum, walnut trees aren’t for random people to utilize. oregonlive, 2 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile, the default Facebook experience will shove more random content in front of your eyeballs than ever. Wired, 22 July 2022 But a signal that repeated every 16 days was recently discovered, although the signal was more random than periodic. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 15 July 2022 Until the summer program ends on Thursday, there will be more random scans and additional security provided by North Little Rock police, according to the release. Arkansas Online, 28 June 2022 Friends and relatives have said that Ramos had lashed out violently in recent years: firing a BB gun at random people, egging cars and torturing animals, bragging of the abuse on social media. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2022 Valdez told the newspaper that Ramos would sometimes drive around with another friend, shooting at random people with his BB gun and egging people’s cars. Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, 25 May 2022 Valdez said Ramos drove around with another friend at night sometimes and shot at random people with a BB gun. Shawn Boburg, Washington Post, 23 May 2022 Making algorithms more random to reduce the echo-chamber effect that pushes content to users based on their viewing preferences also could face resistance from advertisers and social-media companies. Stephen Wright, WSJ, 22 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb There’s one really random one called Mindicine that a postpartum therapist recommended. Collier Meyerson, WIRED, 16 Aug. 2019 See More

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.

First Known Use of random


1561, in the meaning defined above


1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1618, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for random


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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Cite this Entry

“Random.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/random. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for random


ran·​dom | \ ˈran-dəm How to pronounce random (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on random

Nglish: Translation of random for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of random for Arabic Speakers


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