• (RP) IPA: /ˈɑː.bɪ.tɹə.ɹi/, /ˈɑː.bɪ.tɹi/
  • (America, Canada) IPA: /ˈɑɹ.bɪ.tɹɛ(ə).ɹi/


  1. (usually, of a decision) Based on individual discretion or judgment; not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random.
    Benjamin Franklin's designation of "positive" and "negative" to different charges was arbitrary.
    The decision to use 18 years as the legal age of adulthood was arbitrary, as both age 17 and 19 were reasonable alternatives.
  2. Determined by impulse rather than reason; heavy-handed.
    • , letter to Max Born
      quote en
    • quote en
  3. (mathematics) Any, out of all that are possible.
    The equation is true for an arbitrary value of x.
  4. Determined by independent arbiter.
  5. (linguistics) Not representative or symbolic; not iconic.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Noun

arbitrary (plural arbitraries)

  1. Anything arbitrary, such as an arithmetical value or a fee.

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.004
Offline English dictionary