Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective: random movements. See Synonyms at chance.
  • adj. Mathematics & Statistics Of or relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.
  • adj. Of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely, as in the testing of a blood sample for the presence of a substance.
  • idiom at random Without a governing design, method, or purpose; unsystematically: chose a card at random from the deck.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having unpredictable outcomes and, in the ideal case, all outcomes equally probable; resulting from such selection; lacking statistical correlation.
  • adj. Of or relating to probability distribution.
  • adj. Pseudorandom in contrast to truly random; mimicking the result of random selection.
  • adj. Representative and undistinguished; typical and average; selected for no particular reason.
  • adj. Apropos of nothing; lacking context; unexpected; having apparent lack of plan, cause, or reason.
  • adj. Characterized by or often saying random things; habitually using non sequiturs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Going at random or by chance; done or made at hazard, or without settled direction, aim, or purpose; hazarded without previous calculation; left to chance; haphazard.
  • adj. of, pertaining to, or resulting from a process of selection from a starting set of items, in which the probability of selecting any one object in the starting set is equal to the probability of selecting any other.
  • adj. of unequal size or shape; made from components of unequal size or shape.
  • n. Force; violence.
  • n. A roving motion; course without definite direction; want of direction, rule, or method; hazard; chance; -- commonly used in the phrase at random, that is, without a settled point of direction; at hazard.
  • n. Distance to which a missile is cast; range; reach.
  • n. The direction of a rake-vein.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Proceeding, taken, done, or existing at random; aimless; fortuitous; haphazard; casual.
  • n. Something done or produced without definite method, or with irregular or haphazard effect.
  • n. In dyeing, clouded yarn. See random yarn, under I.
  • n. A rushing, as of a torrent; an impetuous course; impetuosity; violence; force: especially with great, as in the phrase a great random, with great speed or force.
  • n. A rush; spurt; gush.
  • n. A continuous flow of words; a harangue.
  • n. An indeterminate course or proceeding; hence, lack of direction, rule, or method; haphazard; chance: used only in the phrase at random—that is, in a haphazard, aimless, and purely fortuitous manner.
  • n. The distance traversed by a missile; range; reach.
  • n. In mining, the direction of a rake-vein.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lacking any definite plan or order or purpose; governed by or depending on chance

Etymologies

From at random, by chance, at great speed, from Middle English randon, speed, violence, from Old French, from randir, to run, of Germanic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English raundon, from Old French randon, from randir ("to gallop") ( > French randonnée ("long walk, hike")), from Frankish *rant, *rand ("a running"), from Proto-Germanic *randiō (“a running”), from Proto-Germanic *rinnanan (“to run”), from Proto-Indo-European *ren- (“to rise; to sink”). See run. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the only choice other than random is *not random*.

    Kicking the Legs Out From Under the Willfully Ignorant « Whatever

  • ( "UPDATE login SET random = $random WHERE id = $id"

    WebDeveloper.com

  • He said the sector remains too focused on charity -- what I call random acts of kindness -- rather than strategic investments.

    Akhtar Badshah: Philanthropy on Trial: Is the Impact on Society Justifiable?

  • "Mortgage rates follow what we call a random walk, and don't bounce back from lows like most people assume," he says.

    Refinance Now? Maybe Not

  • Just hanging out and what we call random hallway parties.

    Rules of Attraction

  • SARAH TEALE, FILMMAKER, "DEALING DOGS": A class-B dealer is someone who deals with what they call random-source dogs.

    CNN Transcript Feb 20, 2006

  • But, she argues, we can still hold the former group, i.e., that which she calls a random collection of individuals, responsible for the violence done to victims, since, if they had tried, they could have come up with such decision-making procedures themselves.

    Collective Responsibility

  • It was not that his spirits were visibly high — he would never, in the concert of pleasure, touch the big drum by so much as a knuckle: he had a mortal dislike to the high, ragged note, to what he called random ravings.

    The Portrait of a Lady

  • It was not that his spirits were visibly high -- he would never, in the concert of pleasure, touch the big drum by so much as a knuckle: he had a mortal dislike to the high, ragged note, to what he called random ravings.

    The Portrait of a Lady

  • The lawmakers said they are concerned about what they call random budget cuts, big raises for some employees, and whether the school is shortchanging its agricultural programs.

    Stories: Local News

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Comments

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  • Looking at the other examples, I am struck by how little randomness is in the selection of the 'random, horrific attack' ones.

    November 26, 2009

  • Learn English with Vexamples, and learn about technology at the same time!

    Anyway: has anyone yet some across a page with whitespace in the word string while using the Random Word feature, or does it produce only single (and hyphenated) words? I'm beginning to suspect it's restricted in the same manner as Recently Viewed (though given the sheer size of the database now, it'll be hard to tell without confirmation from John & co.); and if it is, then it's clearly inferior to classic Wordie's.

    November 26, 2009

  • I have a lot of statistics, but I still find myself using random colloquially to mean a variety of things. Sometimes I refer to things as stochastic just to mix it up.

    September 17, 2009

  • one of the most misused words in my experience, right up there with peruse: "OMG, why would you say that? You are so random, Sarah!"

    (No, actually I said that on purpose.)

    "Have you heard of this wordie site? Yeah, it's this great site that I randomly found when I googled 'wordie' the other day!"

    (Randomly, really?)

    September 17, 2009

  • Summed up in two words: cow poo.

    July 18, 2009

  • Pfft!
    Noone says "like, wow."
    :P

    October 1, 2008

  • Let's keep a good thought.

    October 1, 2008

  • Way, way too much, "like wow! That was random..." going around these days. Though, thankfully, it seems to be a dying trend.

    October 1, 2008

  • New Wordies might be confused by this conversation, so the official Wordie historian will now explain that
    in the past, the random feature URI was http://wordie.org/words/random, i.e. the same as this page.

    September 9, 2008

  • wow so I'm here! I feel so alone, though...

    June 13, 2008

  • Definitely my favourite rhyme for fandom.

    June 12, 2008

  • Oh noes, you clicked! What horrors hath thee unleashed?

    June 12, 2008

  • Who would have though this word would have generated so much conversation?

    November 11, 2007

  • Oh no, did I delete a good list? I could only find two words, so I decided to chuck it. I'm such a minimalist!







    Hee-hee.

    October 9, 2007

  • John, I have noticed that every time I fix anything I break three other things. Welcome to software development.

    October 9, 2007

  • No prob, at least you're quick to amend. ;-) Also, I saw jennarenn added , and I thought "that's pretty cool." Now I don't want to add it, but it's worthy of a favorite. But that generates a 500 error. :-(

    October 9, 2007

  • I unbroke it. Has anyone else noticed that every time I add a new feature, I break three existing ones?

    October 8, 2007

  • Oh noes, the random word function done BROKED!!

    October 8, 2007

  • Oh, how cool!!! I'm a big fan of the 'random word' function. :) Most of the words I've found are only listed by one or two people.

    July 11, 2007

  • Yeah, that'll happen. :-)

    July 11, 2007

  • Hey, that's cool! It's also reassuring to see how many words on the site don't have comments yet, when I start to think we might be running out of stuff to talk about. ;-)

    July 11, 2007

  • Thanks, John! I noticed you also expanded our dictionary/reference selection (two Google links!). What fun!

    July 11, 2007

  • The kind of word you get when you click here, or on the 'random word' link that's now at the bottom of every page.

    July 11, 2007

  • December 2, 2006