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From earlier randon, from Middle English randoun, raundon, from Old French randon, from randir (to run, gallop) (whence French randonnée (long walk, hike)), from Frankish *rant, *rand (run, noun), from Proto-Germanic *randijō, from *rinnaną (run, verb), from Proto-Indo-European *(H)r ̊-nw- (to flow, move, run). See run.


  • enPR: răn'dəm, IPA(key): /ˈɹændəm/
  • (file)


random (countable and uncountable, plural randoms)

  1. A roving motion; course without definite direction; lack of rule or method; chance.
  2. (obsolete) Speed, full speed; impetuosity, force. [14th-17thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter x, in Le Morte Darthur, book I:
      they were messagers vnto kyng Ban & Bors sent from kynge Arthur / therfor said the viij knyghtes ye shalle dye or be prysoners / for we ben knyghtes of kyng Claudas And therwith two of them dressid theire sperys / and Vlfyus and Brastias dressid theire speres and ranne to gyder with grete raundon
    • 1548, Edward Hall, “The triumphant reigne of Kyng Henry the VIII”, in The Union of the two noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and Yorke (Hall’s Chronicle), page 82v:
      [] for coragiouſly the two kynges newely foughte with great randon and force, they ſhewed their vigors and ſtrengthes and did ſo nobly that their coũter parties had none aduaũtage.
  3. (obsolete) The full range of a bullet or other projectile; hence, the angle at which a weapon is tilted to allow the greatest range. [16th-19thc.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, page 144:
      Fortie yards will they shoot levell, or very neare the marke, and 120 is their best at Random.
    • 1644, Sir Kenelm Digby, Two Treatises, page 125:
      [] the angle at which the miſſive is to mount by ( if we will have it go to its furtheſt randome ) muſt be the half of a right one []
  4. (figuratively, colloquial) An undefined, unknown or unimportant person; a person of no consequence. [from 20thc.]
    The party was boring. It was full of randoms.
  5. (mining) The direction of a rake-vein.




random (comparative more random, superlative most random)

  1. Having unpredictable outcomes and, in the ideal case, all outcomes equally probable; resulting from such selection; lacking statistical correlation.
    The flip of a fair coin is purely random.
    The newspaper conducted a random sample of five hundred American teenagers.
    The results of the field survey look random by several different measures.
    • July 18 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Dark Knight Rises[1]
      Where the Joker preys on our fears of random, irrational acts of terror, Bane has an all-consuming, dictatorial agenda that’s more stable and permanent, a New World Order that’s been planned out with the precision of a military coup.
  2. (mathematics) Of or relating to probability distribution.
    A toss of loaded dice is still random, though biased.
  3. (computing) Pseudorandom; mimicking the result of random selection.
    The rand function generates a random number from a seed.
  4. (somewhat colloquial) Representative and undistinguished; typical and average; selected for no particular reason.
    A random American off the street couldn't tell the difference.
  5. (somewhat colloquial) Apropos of nothing; lacking context; unexpected; having apparent lack of plan, cause, or reason.
    That was a completely random comment.
    The teacher's bartending story was interesting, but random.
    The narrative takes a random course.
  6. (colloquial) Characterized by or often saying random things; habitually using non sequiturs.
    You're so random!


Derived termsEdit

terms derived from random (adjective)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit