Definition of random in English:



  • 1Made, done, happening, or chosen without method or conscious decision.

    ‘a random sample of 100 households’
    • ‘So basing any decision on what is most likely to be a random share price pattern is in reality like pouring money down the drain.’
    • ‘In a changing world we have become used to random acts of senseless violence.’
    • ‘No conclusion can be drawn from her death other than that random acts of violence can happen anywhere.’
    • ‘Disappointingly, the survey reveals that random violence is increasing.’
    • ‘When I'm forced to make a decision, I'll often use some random means to help me make up my mind.’
    • ‘Sometimes I just get random thoughts in my head, and these can happen at the worst possible times.’
    • ‘His stories do not conclude, but simply stop dead with a random act of violence.’
    • ‘He becomes the victim of random violence, and is beaten to death by street thugs.’
    • ‘Some deaths may be attributed to domestic violence or random crime.’
    • ‘We like to work on the songs so that they're not just random power chords.’
    • ‘What is now required is to go beyond looking at what happened as a random event.’
    • ‘We don't want a list of random facts that just happen to be true of all the languages that are spoken now.’
    • ‘Here we studied the relationship between random happenings and the natural order of things.’
    • ‘The journey was relatively silent, aside from the random clearing of throats.’
    • ‘I busied myself with some random fruit at the vegie markets while casually looking back at him.’
    • ‘This is not just a random grab at topicality but a surprisingly cogent decision.’
    • ‘In science, observations are not any random facts that investigators happen to have registered.’
    • ‘It shows that life for many prisoners is one of drug addiction, random violence and long periods spent locked up in their cells.’
    • ‘They were weighted and thought out and they weren't random sporadic decisions.’
    • ‘This sampling error causes random fluctuations in allele frequencies called genetic drift.’
    haphazard, disorganized, undisciplined, erratic, unmethodical, uneven, careless, slapdash, slipshod, casual, offhand, remiss, cursory, lackadaisical, perfunctory, aimless, undirected, indiscriminate, trial-and-error
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    1. 1.1Statistics Governed by or involving equal chances for each item.
      • ‘So even if one starts with a random sample, the sample can end up being greatly biased by way of the limited response.’
      • ‘In a random sample of 1,150 Orkney people, Smith was not common enough to make it into the top ten list.’
      • ‘This has made the whole process of ensuring a random sample more difficult.’
      • ‘Results are based on statistically valid random samples of members and are rigorously audited.’
      • ‘The four conditions occurred in a random order and with equal probability within each block of trials.’
      unsystematic, arbitrary, unmethodical, haphazard, unarranged, unplanned, undirected, casual, indiscriminate, non-specific, stray, erratic
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    2. 1.2 (of masonry) with stones of irregular size and shape.
      • ‘York stone flags, laid in random sizes, were chosen for the paving to give a sense of quality and scale.’
  • 2derogatory, informal Unfamiliar or unspecified.

    ‘are you going to take some random guy on Twitter's word?’
    ‘we stumbled on another live band playing at a random bar’
    • ‘You enter a random door and then suddenly the screen becomes black with some text.’
    • ‘Well, here's a scene of him looking obsessively at a random blonde woman.’
    • ‘These files are a risk to people downloading any random file off a google search (just asking for trouble there).’
    • ‘Why would a group of grown men want to pay for some random bloke they don't know to be on their stag do just because he's small?’
    • ‘Perhaps their first response to a random phonecall shouldn't be a full-scale military intervention.’
    • ‘You can't trust the people you're expecting to guard the schools any more than you can a random person off the street.’
    • ‘He's not even a video game guy, he's just some random finance guy who occasionally offers incredibly ill-informed opinions about video games.’
    • ‘Lucien is exactly the kind of guy to make out with random girls in bars.’
    • ‘I wish there was like, a major chatroom, where you could take a number, wait for it to come up, and then just vent for 5-10 minutes to random people.’
    • ‘Of course the broadcaster has already had its "experts" (you know, the off the street random people they pay to claim things).’
    1. 2.1 Odd, unusual, or unexpected.
      ‘the class was hard but he was so random that it was always fun’
      • ‘Actually, the entire segment was kind of random.’
      • ‘This is so weird and random!’
      • ‘I had a sudden craving for chicken… Wow that was random.’
      • ‘The colouring book idea made me chuckle, it's so random!’
      • ‘He was in the hotel room next to us which was really random.’
      • ‘The things they say and ask are so random.’
      • ‘Our mini chicken burgers had carrots, peas and corn in - very random!’


  • An unknown, unspecified, or odd person.

    ‘I just sat down by myself and talked to some randoms’
    ‘some randoms in the crowd asked Ivan Ljubicic to take a photo for them’
    ‘unlike other fan mail from randoms, this was special’
    • ‘Click one to connect to other randoms with the same interest.’
    • ‘Then immediately I got multiple 'friend requests' from randoms.’
    • ‘I can foresee a lot of problems trying to play this with randoms online.’
    • ‘He had a family, but here you are, sharing the main picture of him with a random from his past because she was once a celeb?’
    • ‘He's so well-off he can apparently afford to just hand off $50.00 to randoms on the street.’
    • ‘Here's how you can tell if a color works on you: wear it all day long and if you get compliments from randoms, then you're set.’
    • ‘The parents have forgotten that they have as much influence on their daughter's life as any other randoms.’
    • ‘If no one knows you are an employee of the company then why would your internet rant carry any more weight then a random on the internet?’
    • ‘I don't want to rely on friends or randoms to enjoy a game.’
    • ‘UK festivals involve downing as much cider as humanly possible, making friends with randoms, and living off Tesco pasties.’


  • at random

    • Without method or conscious decision.

      ‘he opened the book at random’
      • ‘When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you take out a bill - just grab one at random and hand it over.’
      • ‘Ernie opens a page at random, nods his head approvingly, and begins to read.’
      • ‘The questions are generated on the computer system at random from a question bank.’
      • ‘By way of comparison, I went to the book shelf and picked out three Ian Fleming books at random.’
      • ‘The chicken will begin its walk from a corner of the field chosen at random just moments before the event takes place.’
      • ‘Manu and Nadine meet up, and go on a road trip, picking up men, and killing at random.’
      • ‘The head monkey grabs a stick and flails around at random, whacking his compatriots.’
      • ‘Chrissy picked the blue map book up from the floor by her feet and opened it at random.’
      • ‘The attack was unprovoked and it seems he was selected at random for assassination.’
      • ‘He put unbound sheets into a box and invited us to read them at random!’
      unsystematically, arbitrarily, randomly, without prearrangement, without method, unmethodically, haphazardly, without conscious choice, leaving things to chance
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Middle English (in the sense ‘impetuous headlong rush’): from Old French randon ‘great speed’, from randir ‘gallop’, from a Germanic root shared by rand.