hap·​haz·​ard | \ (ˌ)hap-ˈha-zərd How to pronounce haphazard (audio) \

Definition of haphazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by lack of plan, order, or direction a haphazard assemblage of furniture not … a collection of haphazard schemes, but rather the orderly component parts of a connected and logical whole— F. D. Roosevelt



Definition of haphazard (Entry 2 of 2)

: chance sense 1 this little remnant preserved by the haphazard of chance— Edith Hamilton take our principles at haphazard— John Locke

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Other Words from haphazard


haphazard adverb
haphazardly adverb
haphazardness noun
haphazardry \ (ˌ)hap-​ˈha-​zər-​drē How to pronounce haphazard (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for haphazard


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

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The "hap" in "haphazard" comes from an English word that means "happening," as well as "chance or fortune," and that derives from the Old Norse word happ, meaning "good luck." Perhaps it’s no accident that "hazard," as well, has its own connotations of luck: while it now refers commonly to something that presents danger, at one time it referred to a dice game similar to craps. (The name ultimately derives from the Arabic al-zahr, or "the die.") "Haphazard" first entered English as a noun (again meaning "chance") in the 16th century, and soon afterward was being used as an adjective to describe things with no apparent logic or order.

Examples of haphazard in a Sentence

Adjective We were given a haphazard tour of the city. considering the haphazard way you measured the ingredients, it's a wonder the cookies came out this good
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Unfortunately, the result of this haphazard presentation will give more than enough ammunition to any vaccine critic to highlight the lack of solid information and safety. Steve Brozak, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 The system has become so haphazard that there is no longer a functioning timetable. New York Times, 2 Sep. 2021 Unlike the haphazard nature of human drivers, self-driving cars could consistently and reliably implement those rules. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 Of course, with our international community, with his haphazard withdrawal. ABC News, 22 Aug. 2021 For Marty Nachel, a decadeslong foray into beer cellaring had a bit of a haphazard start. Bill Jones, chicagotribune.com, 13 Aug. 2021 Meanwhile, the country is struggling through the devastating impact of its haphazard response to Covid-19. Juliana Koch, CNN, 21 July 2021 Republicans argue that that is a haphazard approach that doesn’t give full consideration to ideas, while Democrats say the other side is being obstructionist. Washington Post, 27 July 2021 Incomplete applications, missing Social Security numbers, haphazard tuition payments and overpayments. Star Tribune, 17 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead of haphazard selfies, the slides often included professional headshots and stills from television appearances. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 15 Oct. 2021 Trees rooted in this thawing ground can tilt at all angles, like haphazard Leaning Towers of Pisa. Randi Jandt, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2021 Elections officials in Arizona and across the country said over the course the months-long endeavor that the results would have fatal flaws due to haphazard procedures. Jen Fifield, The Arizona Republic, 24 Sep. 2021 As a young lieutenant, Daniel Kahneman was asked to improve the Israeli army’s haphazard process of assessing capabilities among combat-eligible recruits. Daniel Akst, WSJ, 21 Sep. 2021 However, after decades of haphazard changes, industry experts urge stability in the country’s mining tax regime in order to gain investor confidence. Tendai Marima, Quartz, 1 Sep. 2021 Harris has faced the steep challenge of reassuring partners in Asia, and across the world, that the United States can still be a credible ally amid the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan and the United States’ haphazard evacuations. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2021 Ruffin zeros in on haphazard, sometimes ad hoc families who have lost everything but their human ties. Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2021 After years of almost biblical devastation of their community (acid falling from the sky, shriveled crops, a string of deaths), this haphazard, practically polite kidnapping spurs the beginnings of change—or something that feels a lot like it. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, 12 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'haphazard.' 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 haphazard


1576, in the meaning defined above


1569, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for haphazard

Noun and Adjective

hap entry 1 + hazard

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Time Traveler for haphazard

Time Traveler

The first known use of haphazard was in 1569

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Haphazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haphazard. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for haphazard



English Language Learners Definition of haphazard

: having no plan, order, or direction


hap·​haz·​ard | \ hap-ˈha-zərd How to pronounce haphazard (audio) \

Kids Definition of haphazard

: marked by lack of plan, order, or direction We took a haphazard route.

Other Words from haphazard

haphazardly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on haphazard

Nglish: Translation of haphazard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of haphazard for Arabic Speakers


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