at random

Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Related to at random: random number generator


1. Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective: random movements. See Synonyms at chance.
2. Mathematics & Statistics Of or relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.
3. Of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely, as in the testing of a blood sample for the presence of a substance.
at random
Without a governing design, method, or purpose; unsystematically: chose a card at random from the deck.

[From at random, by chance, at great speed, from Middle English randon, random, speed, violence, surge, from Old French randon, from randir, to run, probably from Frankish *rand, border, margin (as of a field, used as a racecourse); akin to German Rand, edge.]

ran′dom·ly adv.
ran′dom·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: random - in a random mannerat random - in a random manner; "the houses were randomly scattered"; "bullets were fired into the crowd at random"
af handahófi


(ˈrӕndəm) adjective
done etc without any particular plan or system; irregular. The opinion poll was based on a random sample of adults.
ˈrandomly adverb
at random
without any particular plan or system. The police were stopping cars at random and checking their brakes; Choose a number at random.
References in classic literature ?
On his back he wears a spotted lynx-pelt, and he delights in high-pitched songs in a soft meadow where crocuses and sweet-smelling hyacinths bloom at random in the grass.
So I presently hurled a shoe at random, and with a vicious vigor.
She was splendid and robust, and had never appeared handsomer than in the old blue gown, with a red silk handkerchief knotted at random around her head to protect her hair from the dust.
I revel in flowers without let, An atom at random in space; My soul dwells in regions ethereal, And the world is my dreaming-place.
Why, the whole point, the real sting of it lay in the fact that continually, even in the moment of the acutest spleen, I was inwardly conscious with shame that I was not only not a spiteful but not even an embittered man, that I was simply scaring sparrows at random and amusing myself by it.
So they moved on again -- aimlessly -- simply at random -- all they could do was to move, keep moving.
Then madness seemed to come upon me, and seizing my last two thousand florins, I staked them upon twelve of the first numbers--wholly by chance, and at random, and without any sort of reckoning.