Arbitrary Definition

ärbĭ-trĕrē
adjective
Not fixed by rules, but left to one's judgment or choice; discretionary.
Arbitrary decision, arbitrary judgment.
Webster's New World
Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle.
Stopped at the first motel we passed, an arbitrary choice.
American Heritage
Based on one's preference, notion, whim, etc.; capricious.
Young children and their arbitrary rules for games.
Webster's New World
Relating to a decision made by a court or legislature that lacks a grounding in law or fact.
An arbitrary penalty.
American Heritage
Absolute; despotic.
Webster's New World
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noun
Anything arbitrary, such as an arithmetical value or a fee.
Wiktionary
Synonyms:
unbesoughtipse dixitdogmatismdictumdicta

Other Word Forms of Arbitrary

Noun

Singular:
arbitrary
Plural:
arbitraries

Origin of Arbitrary

  • From Middle English arbitrarie, Latin arbitrarius (“arbitrary, uncertain”), from arbiter (“witness, on-looker, listener, judge, overseer”)

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English arbitrarie from Latin arbitrārius from arbiter arbitr- arbiter arbiter

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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