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 Police confirmed that the boys knew each other and that the shooting was not random. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 23 June 2022 Rather than punishing Marek for this random act of violence, however, or providing readers with an extended study of a soul in crisis, Moshfegh’s narrative thrusts him into the lap of luxury. Jess Bergman, The New Republic, 22 June 2022 Police say homicide detectives do not believe this was a random act. Hannah Brock, The Indianapolis Star, 20 June 2022 Investigators are determining whether the suspect knew the victims or if this was a random act. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 17 June 2022 Investigators declined to identify the gunman Wednesday, citing the preliminary nature of the investigation, but said the attack was not random. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 2 June 2022 The conjecture pertains to far more than random graphs. Quanta Magazine, 25 Apr. 2022 Investigators do not believe the stabbing was a random act of violence or that there is an immediate threat to the area nearby. Jake Allen, The Indianapolis Star, 1 June 2022 Officials believe the shooting was not a random act, and there is no danger to the public, according to the statement. BostonGlobe.com, 28 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 6 Jul. 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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