Definition of arbitrarily in English:


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  • 1On the basis of random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

    ‘recurrent infection is arbitrarily defined as three or more infections a year’
    • ‘Elements of the exhibition have been arranged fairly arbitrarily on a table.’
    • ‘The main index of proper names also shifts arbitrarily from English into French.’
    • ‘For sensitivity analysis, we arbitrarily doubled the coefficient of fertilizer in the variance function.’
    • ‘It is an unpardonable negligence to place the ornaments arbitrarily how they wish.’
    • ‘He later practiced decalcomania, a process that involves rubbing paint arbitrarily between two sheets of paper.’
    • ‘Fetal macrosomia is arbitrarily defined as a birth weight of more than 4,000 g (8 lb, 13 oz).’
    • ‘Because of the small populations of these communities, villages are arbitrarily coded to protect their identity.’
    • ‘The problem was to create a storyline that would make each arbitrarily chosen episode compatible with the others.’
    • ‘Using the technology of bobbling (a bubble where time stands still), he can put his characters arbitrarily far into the future.’
    • ‘Socialist realism was sometimes wielded arbitrarily as a tool of discipline by the party.’
  • 2Without restraint in the use of authority; autocratically.

    ‘everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained’
    • ‘The rules of due process were designed to ensure that the government cannot arbitrarily imprison innocent people.’
    • ‘Regulations issued by the Imperial Army spelled out procedures intended to ensure that prisoners weren't punished arbitrarily.’
    • ‘In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested and detained.’
    • ‘It states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.’
    • ‘The cases were arbitrarily submitted to procedures.’
    • ‘He was arbitrarily arrested by local police allegedly without a warrant and in violation of his rights.’
    • ‘There was no evidence that the police acted in bad faith or arbitrarily when issuing those orders.’
    • ‘There is no authority to detain arbitrarily.’
    • ‘They resolved that the king's bench had acted arbitrarily and illegally.’
    • ‘It was argued that the courts arbitrarily rejected their compensation claim by applying a stricter standard of proof than to past compensation claims.’



/ˌärbəˈtrerəlē/ /ˌɑrbəˈtrɛrəli/