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From archaic hap (chance, luck) +‎ hazard.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌhæpˈhæz.əd/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌhæpˈhæz.ɚd/
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haphazard (comparative more haphazard, superlative most haphazard)

  1. Random; chaotic; incomplete; not thorough, constant, or consistent.
    Synonyms: random, chaotic
    Antonym: systematic
    Do not make such haphazard changes to the settings; instead, adjust the knobs carefully, a bit at a time.
    • 1886, N. H. Egleston, “Arbor-Day”, in Popular Science Monthly, p. 689:
      The haphazard efforts of a few, working here and there without concert, easily spent themselves in attaining results far short of what were needed.
    • 1909, Fielding H. Garrison, “Josiah Willard Gibbs and his relation to modern science”, in Popular Science Monthly, p. 191:
      we assume a gas to be an assemblage of elastic spheres or molecules, flying in straight lines in all directions, with swift haphazard collisions and repulsions, like so many billiard balls.
    • 1912, Robert DeC. Ward, “The Value of Non-Instrumental Weather Observations”, in Popular Science Monthly, p. 129:
      There is a very considerable series of observations — non-instrumental, unsystematic, irregular, "haphazard" if you will — which any one with ordinary intelligence and with a real interest in weather conditions may undertake.
    • 2023 April 18, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea Champions League exit: Where do 'disjointed, broken' Blues go from here?”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Chelsea need to identify and appoint the new manager and then lose the haphazard transfer policy that has seen players signed for exorbitant fees, often seemingly on the basis that other Premier League clubs were interested in them.

Derived terms[edit]



haphazard (plural haphazards)

  1. Simple chance, a random accident, luck.
    • 1796, Fanny Burney, Camilla, Or, A Picture of Youth, volume 3, published 1802, page 116:
      You should never talk about your own fingers, and haphazards, to genteel people. You should only talk about agreeable subjects as I do.
    • 1895, Arthur Conan Doyle, Strange Secrets, page 16:
      I consulted my mother, who was punctiliousness itself, and decided I must go Monday, as agreed. I should be with her again on Wednesday. On such haphazards hang men's destinies sometimes.
    • 1951, William Russell White, Leadership, volume 2, page 1616:
      Economics depends on fickle human nature , its changeable tastes and the varying states of culture and the haphazards of progress . Can economics be any more scientific than psychology and psychiatry?
    • 2006, Nicholas Rescher, “Studies in philosophical anthropology”, in Collected Papers, page 103:
      Machiavelli, in Chapter 25 of Il principe (1513) after surveying the cruelties and haphazards of the politics of his day, set more restrictive limits to human endeavor by assigning half of what happens in this domain to the intractable power of fortuna []


haphazard (comparative more haphazard, superlative most haphazard)

  1. Haphazardly.