Adjective "arbitrary" definition and examples

(Arbitrary may not be an adjective, but it can be used as an adjective, click here to find out.)



Definitions and examples


Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
  1. 'I prefer to have my laws built on reason rather than arbitrary morality.'
  2. 'The historical reason for this time limit was based on arbitrary precedent.'
  3. 'Citizens, too, began to complain that the economic system was bafflingly arbitrary.'
  4. 'But Plato tells us that the ethical laws cannot be the arbitrary whims of personalized gods.'
  5. 'Police officers cannot take arbitrary measures based on suspicion.'
  6. 'Yes, this requires work - but that is what makes it a justice system rather than one of arbitrary punishment.'
  7. 'So, here I would only talk about a few rather arbitrary points that have occupied my mind in the recent days and leave the rest to other people to explore.'
  8. 'His either/or choice was arbitrary and unnecessary, and he hurt his organization as a result.'
  9. 'Capricious and arbitrary as the system might be, it serves several contradictory needs at once.'
  10. 'Any system of classification is arbitrary and thus frail, subject to the contradictions of experience.'
(of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.
  1. 'Curbs were placed on the arbitrary exercise of power and steps were taken to give some measure of regularity to the legal system.'
  2. 'In the fourteenth century, two parallel movements were under way to enforce Magna Carta's curbs on arbitrary royal authority.'
  3. 'So too, one might think that an organized police force poses less of a threat of arbitrary power than a volunteer force.'
  4. 'The following films deal with rebellion against arbitrary or repressive authority.'
  5. 'Thus a major new avenue of arbitrary government power would be opened up.'
  6. 'These kings have not unlimited or arbitrary power, and the generals do more by example than by authority.'
  7. 'A right of access to a court is one of the checks on the danger of arbitrary power.…'
  8. 'Freedom from arbitrary power is a great good - but so is the avoidance of anarchy.'
(of a constant or other quantity) of unspecified value.
  1. 'He defined differential operators of arbitrary order D t.'
  2. 'How you can tell whether a binary number of arbitrary size is divisible by 10 without looking at the whole number?'

More definitions

1. subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one's discretion: an arbitrary decision.

2. decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by a law or statute.

3. having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical: an arbitrary government.

4. capricious; unreasonable; unsupported: an arbitrary demand for payment.

5. Mathematics. undetermined; not assigned a specific value: an arbitrary constant. noun, plura

More examples(as adjective)

"states can be arbitrary against blacks."

"bans can be arbitrary by things."

"twos can be arbitrary above issues."

"twos can be arbitrary above betwixts."

"taxes can be arbitrary in circuits."

More examples++


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘dependent on one's will or pleasure, discretionary’): from Latin arbitrarius, from arbiter ‘judge, supreme ruler’, perhaps influenced by French arbitraire.