Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “arbitrary”

See all translations

arbitrary

adjective uk   /ˈɑː.bɪ.trər.i/ us    /ˈɑːr.bə.trer-/

arbitrary adjective (CHANCE)

C2 based on chance rather than being planned or based on reason: arbitrary decision-making Did you have a reason for choosing your destination or was it arbitrary?
More examples

arbitrary adjective (UNFAIR)

disapproving using unlimited personal power without considering other people's wishes: an arbitrary ruler The company has been the subject of an arbitrary take-over.
arbitrarily
adverb uk   /ˌɑː.bɪˈtreə.rɪ.li/ us    /ˌɑːr.bɪˈtrer.ɪ-/
We made the decision to go to Italy quite arbitrarily.
arbitrariness
noun [U] uk   /-nəs/ us  
Translations of “arbitrary”
in Spanish arbitrario…
in French arbitraire…
in German willkürlich…
in Chinese (Traditional) 偶然, 任意的, 隨機的…
in Russian произвольный…
in Turkish keyfi, isteğe göre düzenlenen, rastgele…
in Chinese (Simplified) 偶然, 任意的, 随机的…
in Polish przypadkowy, arbitralny…
(Definition of arbitrary from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of arbitrary?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “arbitrary” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

justice

fairness in the way people are dealt with

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

Read More 

flower beard noun

January 19, 2015
a beard adorned with flowers And some of said beard-rockers are even turning it up a notch, painting trend on top of trend with what’s come to be known as ‘the flower beard.’

Read More