Definition of Arbitrary

1. Adjective. Based on or subject to individual discretion or preference or sometimes impulse or caprice. "Arbitrary division of the group into halves"

Definition of Arbitrary

1. a. Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment.

Definition of Arbitrary

1. Adjective. (context: usually of a decision) Based on individual discretion or judgment; not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random. ¹

2. Adjective. Determined by impulse rather than reason; heavy-handed. ¹

3. Adjective. (mathematics) Any and all possible. ¹

4. Adjective. Determined by independent arbiter. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Arbitrary

1. [adj]

Medical Definition of Arbitrary

1. 1. Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment. "It was wholly arbitrary in them to do so." (Jer. Taylor) "Rank pretends to fix the value of every one, and is the most arbitrary of all things." (Landor) 2. Exercised according to one's own will or caprice, and therefore conveying a notion of a tendency to abuse the possession of power. "Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused licentiousness." (Washington) 3. Despotic; absolute in power; bound by no law; harsh and unforbearing; tyrannical; as, an arbitrary prince or government. (Dryden) Arbitrary constant, Arbitrary function, one to which any value can be assigned at pleasure. Origin: L. Arbitrarius, fr. Arbiter: cf. F. Arbitraire. See Arbiter. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Arbitrary Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Arbitrary

arbitrary (current term)
arbitration agreement
arbitration clause

Literary usage of Arbitrary

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, Henry Reeve (1899)
"arbitrary POWER OF MAGISTRATES UNDER THE RULE OF THE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY For what reason the arbitrary power of Magistrates is greater in absolute monarchies ..."

2. Daniel Defoe: His Life, and Recently Discovered Writings ; Extending from by Lee, William, Daniel Defoe (1869)
"On arbitrary Government of a Journal. MJ, Nov. 21. ... In a word, Mr. Mist, arbitrary Government must have arbitrary Power, or it is a Lion without his ..."

3. The Harvard Classics by Charles William Eliot (1910)
"arbitrary GOVERNMENT DESCRIBED AND THE GOVERNMENT of the MASSACHUSETTS VINDICATED ... upon him and other magistrates the charge of arbitrary government; ..."

4. Mathematical and Physical Papers by Sir George Gabriel Stokes, Baron John William Strutt Rayleigh (1883)
"Propagation of an arbitrary Disturbance in an Elastic Medium. 9. ... They contain two distinct arbitrary constants, which cannot be united in one without ..."

5. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1803)
"Their Signification perfectly arbitrary. WORDS by long and familiar ufe, as has been faid, come to excite in men certain ideas fo ..."

6. Science by American Association for the Advancement of Science (1905)
"Somewhat provisionally expressed in a conspectus, which like any other tabular arrangement is simpler and more arbitrary than the apparent chaos of ..."

7. The Popular Science Monthly (1884)
"selecting one with its manipulation as an arbitrary standard, and adopting conditions in the others which shall give corresponding results. ..."

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