random

noun
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

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

Perhaps three judges would be chosen at random from a circuit court and the president would select one. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "A Better Way to Fix the Supreme Court," 4 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Winners will be drawn at random and notified Wednesday, July 3. SFChronicle.com, "Gemma New Conducts Beethoven 9," 12 June 2019 Authorities said Solano wasn't in uniform, and the attack appeared to be random and unprovoked. Fox News, "Utah man arrested in shooting of off-duty California deputy at Jack in the Box," 11 June 2019 If the results were just random, then 25% of managers should repeat the feat in the first year, 12.5% in the second, 6.25% in the third and so on. The Economist, "Troubles at the Woodford investment group point to a wider trend," 6 June 2019 Swift and Pattinson's friendship may seem random, but Pattinson's new girlfriend Waterhouse is not new to Swift's squad. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Taylor Swift & Robert Pattinson Went On A Double Date Because Apparently They're Old Pals," 6 June 2019 Modern stories frequently plunge us into lengthy interior monologues, exhaustively describe settings and people’s physical features, delight in the random, absurd, and orthogonal, and end with deliberate ambiguity. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 After all, embarrassment tends to be random and personal. Ana Veciana-suarez, miamiherald, "Prenuptial agreements with a social media clause are on the rise," 11 June 2018 Maybe, but, either way, there's no denying that the moment was both sweet and random. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Most Awkward Moments From the 2019 Oscars," 25 Feb. 2019 And, to be fair, the vast majority of people complaining about the bug just seem to be treating it as a random and quizzical oddity of the social network that nobody can explain right now. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Facebook confirms years-old messages are randomly coming back to haunt users," 27 Nov. 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

15 Jun 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 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

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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

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