Definition of “random” - English Dictionary

“random” in British English

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randomadjective

uk /ˈræn.dəm/ us /ˈræn.dəm/

C1 happening, done, or chosen by chance rather than according to a plan:

We asked a random sample/selection of people what they thought.

informal strange or unusual:

I just saw Billy wearing a top hat - he's so random!

informal unknown and unexpected in a particular situation:

Some random guy walked in.
at random

C1 by chance, or without being chosen intentionally:

The winning entry will be the first correct answer drawn at random.

More examples

  • And what might be the underlying significance of these supposedly random acts of violence?
  • To my untutored eye that just looks like a load of random brush strokes and yet it's a very valuable painting.
  • It seems that the attack was a random act of violence.
  • The survey was carried out among a random sample of voters.
  • The security guards carried out random checks on people entering the building.
randomly
adverb uk /ˈræn.dəm.li/ us /ˈræn.dəm.li/

C1

The books were randomly arranged on the shelves.

(Definition of “random” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“random” in American English

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randomadjective

us /ˈræn·dəm/

happening, done, or chosen by chance rather than according to a plan or pattern:

a random sample
He was stopped at the border in a random check.
at random

At random means by chance, or without any organization or plan:

Dylan picked several books at random.
randomly
adverb us /ˈræn·dəm·li/

The people I interviewed were chosen randomly.
randomness
noun [ U ] us /ˈræn·dəm·nəs/

(Definition of “random” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“random” in Business English

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randomadjective

uk /ˈrændəm/ us

happening, done, or chosen by chance rather than following a system, plan, or rule:

random audits/checks/tests They discussed the idea of carrying out random forensic audits on listed companies as a deterrent to fraud.
The questionnaires are assigned on a random basis.
at random

without involving any system or decision:

chosen/drawn/selected at random The winner will be the first complete entry drawn at random after the closing date.

(Definition of “random” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)