Meaning of RANDOM in English

I. ˈrandəm, ˈraan- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English randoun, raundon, random, from Middle French randon (as in de randon, a randon with impetuosity), from Old French, from randir to run, gallop, of Germanic origin; akin to German dialect (Bavarian & Alemannic) rand run, running, from stem of Old High German rinnan to run — more at run

1. obsolete : force , impetuosity

2. : a haphazard course : chance progress

3. obsolete

a. : the range of a gun or projectile

b. : the elevation given to a gun

4. : bank III 3b

- at random

II. adverb

: in a random manner : at random — usually used in combination

random -jointed

III. adjective

1. : lacking or seeming to lack a regular plan, purpose, or pattern

random thoughts laid hold of him — George Meredith

a random assortment of vases, ivory elephants and other … ornaments — Robert Shaplen

random brick and timber panels — American Guide Series: Connecticut

random widths


a. : marked by absence of bias : chosen at random

a true random sample of the whole list — Daniel Melcher & Nancy Larrick

placing a finger on a random passage — Charlton Laird

b. : involving or resulting from randomization

c. : having the same probability of occurring as every other member of a set

random numbers


haphazard , hit-or-miss , desultory , chance , chancy , casual , happy-go-lucky : random stresses lack of definite aim, fixed goal, regular procedure, or predictable incidence

a random collection of literary and archeological odds and ends — Aldous Huxley

the clerks become tired and bored and start making random mistakes — Martin Gardner

a kitten's random play with a spool or ball

That which is haphazard is done according to chance or whim without regularity or order and with careless disregard for ultimate fitness or efficiency. hit-or-miss further stresses lack of aim, care, plan, or system

all his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work — C.S.Forester

desultory stresses lack of regularity or steadiness and suggests an erratic performance marked by false starts, lapses, breaks, shifts, or inconsistencies

medieval warfare was often of the nature of a mild adventure … the fighting was generally sporadic and desultory — Edwin Benson

a little Latin and Greek and much outdoor life, with a desultory education got from vagrant books — V.L.Parrington

chance stresses complete lack of design, intent, plan, or prearrangement

he had never before given Cuba, under Spanish rule, a thought, but at a chance sentence it dominated him completely — Joseph Hergesheimer

It suggests lack of plan, reason, forethought in connection with persons encountered or objects found or discovered in various places

his temper grew uncertain and he found it increasingly difficult to welcome chance visitors with his usual affability — Robert Graves

snatching a chance piece of billiard chalk from his pocket, he ran it across the hall floor — G.K.Chesterton

In reference to things and situations chancy suggests uncertainty of outcome through dependence on chance and hence implies risk or hazard

despite recent advances in geophysics, oil drilling is still a chancy business — H.T.Kane

casual suggests lack of intentness or purpose

his jottings are by no means casual — Listener

happy-go-lucky suggests carefree, insouciant lack of forethought or plan or cheerful, indifferent acceptance of what ensues

a funny little happy-go-lucky, native-managed railway — Rudyard Kipling

the old happy-go-lucky methods of production — Bernard Pares

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.