Meaning of “arbitrary” in the English Dictionary

"arbitrary" in British English

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

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?

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adverb uk /ˌɑː.bɪˈtreə.rəl.i/ us /ˌɑːr.bəˈtrer.əl.i/

We made the decision to go to Italy quite arbitrarily.
noun [ U ] uk /ˈɑː.bɪ.trər.i.nəs/ us /ˈɑːr.bə.trer.i.nəs/

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

"arbitrary" in American English

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us /ˈɑr·bɪˌtrer·i/

based on a desire or idea or chance rather than reason:

Her outfit was an arbitrary choice but was just perfect.
adverb us /ˌɑr·bəˈtreər·ə·li/

We didn’t think much about it, just arbitrarily decided to go to Italy.
noun [ U ] us /ˌɑr·bəˈtreər·i·nəs/


The arbitrariness of human nature infuriates me.

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

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