Meaning of ARBITRARY in English


transcription, транскрипция: [ ˈär-bə-ˌtrer-ē, -ˌtre-rē ]


Date: 15th century

1. : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law

the manner of punishment is arbitrary


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


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 ˌär-bə-ˈtrer-ə-lē, -ˈtre-rə- adverb

• ar·bi·trar·i·ness ˈär-bə-ˌtrer-ē-nəs, -ˌtre-rē- noun

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.