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random

[ran-duh m] /ˈræn dəm/
adjective
1.
proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern:
the random selection of numbers.
2.
Statistics. of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.
3.
Building Trades.
  1. (of building materials) lacking uniformity of dimensions:
    random shingles.
  2. (of ashlar) laid without continuous courses.
  3. constructed or applied without regularity:
    random bond.
4.
Informal.
  1. unknown, unidentified, or out of place:
    A couple of random guys showed up at the party.
  2. odd and unpredictable in an amusing way:
    my totally random life.
noun
5.
Chiefly British, bank3 (def 7b).
adverb
6.
Building Trades. without uniformity:
random-sized slates.
Idioms
7.
at random, without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement; in a haphazard way:
Contestants were chosen at random from the studio audience.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English raundon, random < Old French randon, derivative of randir to gallop < Germanic
Related forms
randomly, adverb
randomness, noun
nonrandom, adjective
nonrandomly, adverb
nonrandomness, noun
Synonyms
1. haphazard, chance, fortuitous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for random
  • Although they were paid for their keen insights into world affairs, they often performed worse than random chance.
  • Some always look good due to random chance in every process with lots of random factors.
  • If it were, then random chance would make it pretty unlikely to have it on the side tipped toward us.
  • Different drums have different sounds, so in total, it has the pleasing effect of a rather random rhythm section.
  • The study's conclusion was that tasks with unpredictable, seemingly random outcomes tend to elicit rituals and eccentric behavior.
  • But it is more illuminating to think of them as stars in the sky, scattered more or less at random over a vast canvas.
  • What was important was to make sure that the group was a sincere sampling and random, not researched.
  • It is as much a giant sculpture as a building, the zinc exterior sliced in dozens of seemingly random lines and geometric shapes.
  • As stated the other animals evolved in their own direction according to random mutation and natural selection.
  • Artists' journals can be an art form unto themselves, a taxonomy of days that attempt to capture the random rush of creativity.
British Dictionary definitions for random

random

/ˈrændəm/
adjective
1.
lacking any definite plan or prearranged order; haphazard: a random selection
2.
(statistics)
  1. having a value which cannot be determined but only described probabilistically: a random variable
  2. chosen without regard to any characteristics of the individual members of the population so that each has an equal chance of being selected: random sampling
3.
(informal) (of a person) unknown: some random guy waiting for a bus
noun
4.
at random, in a purposeless fashion; not following any prearranged order
Derived Forms
randomly, adverb
randomness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French randon, from randir to gallop, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German rinnan to run
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for random
adj.

"having no definite aim or purpose," 1650s, from at random (1560s), "at great speed" (thus, "carelessly, haphazardly"), alteration of Middle English noun randon "impetuosity, speed" (c.1300), from Old French randon "rush, disorder, force, impetuosity," from randir "to run fast," from Frankish *rant "a running" or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *randa (cf. Old High German rennen "to run," Old English rinnan "to flow, to run;" see run (v.)).

In 1980s U.S. college student slang it began to acquire a sense of "inferior, undesirable." (A 1980 William Safire column describes it as a college slang noun meaning "person who does not belong on our dormitory floor.") Random access in reference to computer memory is recorded from 1953. Related: Randomly; randomness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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random in Science
random
  (rān'dəm)   
  1. Relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.

  2. Relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely, as in the testing of a blood sample for the presence of a substance.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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random in Technology


1. Unpredictable (closest to mathematical definition); weird. "The system's been behaving pretty randomly."
2. Assorted; undistinguished. "Who was at the conference?" "Just a bunch of random business types."
3. (pejorative) Frivolous; unproductive; undirected. "He's just a random loser."
4. Incoherent or inelegant; poorly chosen; not well organised. "The program has a random set of misfeatures." "That's a random name for that function." "Well, all the names were chosen pretty randomly."
5. In no particular order, though deterministic. "The I/O channels are in a pool, and when a file is opened one is chosen randomly."
6. Arbitrary. "It generates a random name for the scratch file."
7. Gratuitously wrong, i.e. poorly done and for no good apparent reason. For example, a program that handles file name defaulting in a particularly useless way, or an assembler routine that could easily have been coded using only three registers, but redundantly uses seven for values with non-overlapping lifetimes, so that no one else can invoke it without first saving four extra registers. What randomness!
8. A random hacker; used particularly of high-school students who soak up computer time and generally get in the way.
9. Anyone who is not a hacker (or, sometimes, anyone not known to the hacker speaking). "I went to the talk, but the audience was full of randoms asking bogus questions".
10. (occasional MIT usage) One who lives at Random Hall. See also J. Random, some random X.
[Jargon File]
(1995-12-05)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Idioms and Phrases with random

random

see: at random
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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