Word of the Day : September 14, 2014

aleatory

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adjective AY-lee-uh-tor-ee

Definition

: characterized by chance or random elements

Did You Know?

If you're the gambling type, then chances are good you've come across aleatory in your travels. Deriving from the Latin noun alea, which refers to a kind of dice game, aleatory was first used in English in the late 17th century to describe things that are dependent on uncertain odds, much like a roll of the dice. The term now describes things that occur by sheer chance or accident, such as the unlucky bounce of a golf shot or the unusual shape of an ink blot. Going a bit further, the term aleatory music, or chance music, describes a musical composition in which certain parts are left for the performer to concoct through improvisation.


Examples

Tom and Renee's romance had an aleatory beginning-for without the sudden rainstorm that led to their introduction beneath the shop's awning, would they ever have met?

"Pollard had learned the 'cut-up' technique from Burroughs, in which the song (or poem) is completed, then spliced, then rearranged in random order. This writing technique is aleatory: in other words, it deposits chance directly into the creative process. What’s produced as a result of the technique is completely random …." - Brian Burlage, The Michigan Daily, July 30, 2014



Test Your Memory

Fill in the blanks to create a word that can mean "major or fundamental change": _ er _ uta _ i _ n. The answer is …


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