Meaning of ARBITRARY in English



Pronunciation: ' är-b ə - ˌ trer- ē , - ˌ tre-r ē

Function: adjective

Date: 15th century

1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law <the manner of punishment is arbitrary >

2 a : not restrained or limited in the exercise of power : ruling by absolute authority <an arbitrary government> b : marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and often tyrannical exercise of power <protection from arbitrary arrest and detention>

3 a : based on or determined by individual preference or convenience rather than by necessity or the intrinsic nature of something <an arbitrary standard> <take any arbitrary positive number> < arbitrary division of historical studies into watertight compartments ― A. J. Toynbee> b : existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance or as a capricious and unreasonable act of will <when a task is not seen in a meaningful context it is experienced as being arbitrary ― Nehemiah Jordan>

– ar · bi · trari · ly \ ˌ är-b ə - ' trer- ə -l ē , - ' tre-r ə - \ adverb

– ar · bi · trar · i · ness \ ' är-b ə - ˌ trer- ē -n ə s, - ˌ tre-r ē - \ noun

Merriam Webster Collegiate English Dictionary.      Merriam Webster - Энциклопедический словарь английского языка.