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

During two days of interviewing at random some 50 admirers of Kandinsky, JTA did not encounter a single person who favored returning the painting to the family after being informed of the dispute’s details. Cnaan Liphshiz, sun-sentinel.com, "‘Public interest’ keeps looted artwork on display, not with family," 24 July 2019 Color each of the vertices white or black at random. Quanta Magazine, "Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order," 2 July 2019 Beto O’Rourke, seemingly at random, got a question about whether the United States ought to honor a responsibility to protect people threatened by genocide overseas. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "At the Democratic Debate, Elizabeth Warren’s Reformism Versus Trump’s Moral Crisis," 27 June 2019 The toy chain is limiting the offer to about 200,000 rewards program members selected at random from entries received before a Jun. 16 deadline. Lauren Zumbach, chicagotribune.com, "Build-A-Bear is bringing back its “Pay Your Age Day” promotion - with a plan to control the crowds," 19 June 2019 At the start of the game, a hat that may be either blue or red is chosen at random from a large number of hats and placed on each contestant’s head. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: A Hat Trick + 1 of Hat Puzzles," 23 Mar. 2016 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Winners will be drawn at random and notified by email Monday, Aug. 19. SFChronicle.com, "Gardener Appreciation Day at the San Francisco Botanical Garden!," 6 Aug. 2019 Another was sent back to complete a random urinalysis drug test, something that’s routine in the Navy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Squadron leaders warned of dangerous helicopter ‘hot seat’ hours before sailor fatally injured, report finds," 5 Aug. 2019 But none of that was enough to stop the gunman, who gained entry to the festival by cutting through a back fence before opening fire at random. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Police “neutralized” the Dayton shooter in 30 seconds. He still shot 14 people.," 5 Aug. 2019 In El Paso, Dayton and Chicago, a weekend of horrific gun violence seemed on the surface to be another spasm of disconnected mayhem, people taking the lives of others almost at random. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Weekend of mass killing reflects how American violence goes viral," 5 Aug. 2019 The waves’ movement pushes air in and out of the organ pipes to create the notes at random, but overall what is heard is surprisingly pleasing because the pipes have been tuned to harmonies used in local folk music. Trevor Cox, National Geographic, "15 musical wonders to see—and hear," 31 July 2019 Witnesses told CBS News the gunman appeared to be firing at random. CBS News, "3 killed, 15 wounded in shooting that left gunman dead at Gilroy Garlic Festival in San Francisco Bay Area," 29 July 2019 Witnesses told CBS News the gunman appeared to be firing at random. Patrick May, The Denver Post, "Reports: Shooter identified in Gilroy shooting that killed three and wounded 12," 29 July 2019 In Arizona, animal crematories fall under the auspices of the veterinary board, which inspects them before opening and also at random, and issues and renews licenses. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Arizona animal crematory may have broken state rules by not cremating pets within 30 days," 24 July 2019

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

10 Aug 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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