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

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 Rich was shot and killed near his Washington home in July 2016 in what police ruled a random, botched robbery. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "Why Fox News will probably not be penalized for airing a Seth Rich conspiracy theory," 14 Mar. 2018 The names of qualified students would be picked at random until a class is filled. Jeffrey Selingo, The Atlantic, "The Best Ways to Fix College Admissions Are Probably Illegal," 27 Apr. 2018 Each institution would establish its own criteria for admissions and then all the names of qualified students would be put into a hat and picked at random until the class is filled. Jeffrey J. Selingo, Washington Post, "The higher education divide: The ‘haves’ keep getting richer. Other schools? Not so much.," 6 Apr. 2018 Male cougars wander at random, which is what the DNR is seeing with the Brookfield cougar, according to Walter. Karen Pilarski, USA TODAY, "Cougar caught on camera looking through window into Wisconsin home," 20 Feb. 2018 Pick a number at random, Hogg suggested, and contact the company next to it. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Facing boycott, Laura Ingraham apologizes for taunting Parkland teen over college rejections," 29 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There are also seemingly random — and likely not household — products on the list, like bovine semen and horsehair. New York Times, "Trade War With China in Aisle 12," 12 July 2018 Yet nothing is random with 13 Reasons Why, even a simple video of a Liberty High School student opening a locker. refinery29.com, "All The Clues In The 13 Reasons Why Season 3 Teaser," 7 June 2018 Police there is no immediate danger to the public and this was not a random act. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Woman and child injured during overnight home invasion in Wauwatosa," 13 July 2018 There are three people attached to NBC’s live musical who are at the doorstep of joining the EGOT club — the exclusive and somewhat random assortment of people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. John Koblin, New York Times, "Emmy Nominations 2018: ‘Game of Thrones’ and Netflix Lead the Way," 13 July 2018 That might have been a random occurrence; there was no reason to assume worse to come. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast," 13 July 2018 Kids still played there occasionally, but there were unattached wooden boards littering the bleachers and random furniture scattered throughout the place. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "An Indiana gym gem: Restoration of Pleasantville gym a pleasant surprise," 12 July 2018 In a lightning round of random questions at the end of Thursday night’s Republican debate at Mohegan Sun, conservative radio moderator Lee Elci posed the query. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Politics and the Price of Milk," 14 July 2018 Some studies indicate that random genetic mutations cause many cases, and no single factor may be responsible. NBC News, "Johnson & Johnson talc verdict goes against what is known about cancer," 13 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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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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Comments on random

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