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

exercise

physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy

Word of the Day

Byronic, Orwellian and Darwinian: adjectives from names.

by Liz Walter,
April 15, 2015
Becoming an adjective is a strange kind of memorial, but it is often a sign of a person having had real influence on the world. Science is full of examples, from Hippocrates, the Greek medic born around 460 BC, who gave his name to the Hippocratic Oath still used by doctors today,

Read More 

bio-inspiration noun

April 13, 2015
the adoption of patterns and structures found in nature for the purposes of engineering, manufacturing, science, etc. The MIT researchers actually aren’t the only robotics team to turn to cheetahs for bio-inspiration.

Read More