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From Middle English raundon, from Old French randon, from randir (to gallop) (whence French randonnée (long walk, hike)), from Frankish *rant, *rand (a running), from Proto-Germanic *randijō (a running), from Proto-Germanic *rinnaną (to run), from Proto-Indo-European *ren- (to rise; to sink). See run.



random (plural randoms)

  1. A roving motion; course without definite direction; lack of rule or method; chance.
    • Herrick
      Counsels, when they fly / At random, sometimes hit most happily.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      O, many a shaft, at random sent, / Finds mark the archer little meant!
  2. (obsolete) Speed, full speed; impetuosity, force. [14th-17th c.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book I.10:
      And therwith two of them dressid their sperys, and Ulfyus and Brastias dressid theire speres, and ranne to gyder with grete raundon.
    • E. Hall
      For courageously the two kings newly fought with great random and force.
  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-19th c.]
    • 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.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir K. Digby to this entry?)
  4. (figuratively, colloquial) An undefined, unknown or unimportant person; a person of no consequence. [from 20th c.]
    The party was boring. It was full of randoms.
  5. (mining) The direction of a rake-vein.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Raymond to this entry?)




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 terms[edit]


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