at random

Idioms & Phrases

at random

Without order or fixed purpose, haphazardly, as in Jackson Pollock dropped paints on canvas seemingly at random. Originally this phrase meant "very speedily" and "heedlessly." Shakespeare had the present usage in 1 Henry VI (5:3): "He talks at random; sure the man is mad." [Late 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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