random walk


: a process (such as Brownian motion or genetic drift) consisting of a sequence of steps (such as movements or changes in gene frequency) each of whose characteristics (such as magnitude and direction) is determined by chance

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The notion of a random walk is based in part on the physics concept of Brownian motion. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 9 Feb. 2023 And the jumping movements seem to follow a random walk strategy in order to do so. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 9 Feb. 2023 Among the many unwelcome legacies of Donald Trump’s random walk through foreign and defense policy during his presidency, the resurgence of isolationism and know-nothingism in the Republican Party is among the most distasteful and dangerous. John R. Bolton, National Review, 23 Jan. 2023 Neutral theory posited that most substitutions were not driven by natural selection, but rather random walk processes. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2011 The fixation of neutral variants is random walk, and the time until fixation is directly proportional to population size. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2011 The random walk of cars and their collision probabilities with planets concludes that there is just a six percent chance that the Tesla will collide with Earth in the next one million years. Alison Klesman, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2018 Indeed, his book is a kind of random walk through the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and engineering—all illustrated with winsome diagrams and twisted humor. James B. Meigs, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 Venture capitalists are forced to become political analysts, turning an endeavor of calculated risk-taking to a random walk down political gamesmanship. Nina Xiang, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'random walk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1905, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of random walk was in 1905

Dictionary Entries Near random walk

Cite this Entry

“Random walk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/random%20walk. Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

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