arbitrary


arbitrary
[15] Arbitrary comes ultimately from Latin arbiter ‘judge’, via the derived adjective arbitrārius. It originally meant ‘decided by one’s own discretion or judgment’, and has since broadened, and ‘worsened’, in meaning to ‘capricious’. The Latin noun has of course contributed a large number of other words to English, including arbiter [15] itself, arbitrate [16] (via the Latin verb arbitrārī), and arbitrament [14]. Arbitrage in the sense ‘buying and selling shares to make a profit’ is a 19thcentury borrowing from French, where it means literally ‘arbitration’. => ARBITRATE

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

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  • arbitrary — ar·bi·trary / är bə ˌtrer ē/ adj 1: depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by standards, rules, or law the manner of punishment is arbitrary 2 a: not restrained or limited in the exercise of power an arbitrary government …   Law dictionary

  • Arbitrary — Ar bi*tra*ry, a. [L. arbitrarius, fr. arbiter: cf. F. arbitraire. See {Arbiter}.] 1. Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment. [1913 Webster] It was wholly arbitrary in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • arbitrary — [är′bə trer΄ē] adj. [L arbitrarius < arbiter, ARBITER] 1. not fixed by rules, but left to one s judgment or choice; discretionary [arbitrary decision, arbitrary judgment] 2. based on one s preference, notion, whim, etc.; capricious [young… …   English World dictionary

  • arbitrary — [adj1] whimsical, chance approximate, capricious, discretionary, erratic, fanciful, frivolous, inconsistent, injudicious, irrational, irresponsible, offhand, optional, random, subjective, supercilious, superficial, unaccountable, unreasonable,… …   New thesaurus

  • arbitrary — (adj.) early 15c., deciding by one s own discretion, from O.Fr. arbitraire (14c.) or directly from L. arbitrarius depending on the will, uncertain, from arbiter (see ARBITER (Cf. arbiter)). The original meaning gradually descended to capricious… …   Etymology dictionary

  • arbitrary — autocratic, *absolute, despotic, tyrannical, tyrannous Analogous words: *dictatorial, authoritarian, magisterial, oracular: domineering, *masterful, imperious, peremptory, imperative Antonyms: legitimate Contrasted words: *lawful, legal, licit …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • arbitrary — ► ADJECTIVE 1) based on random choice or personal whim. 2) (of power or authority) used without constraint; autocratic. DERIVATIVES arbitrarily adverb arbitrariness noun. ORIGIN Latin arbitrarius, from arbiter judge, supreme ruler …   English terms dictionary

  • Arbitrary — For the concept of arbitrariness in trademark law, see Trademark distinctiveness. Arbitrary is a term given to choices and actions which are considered to be done not by means of any underlying principle or logic, but by whim or some decidedly… …   Wikipedia

  • arbitrary — 01. Application of the death penalty is much too [arbitrary] to be allowed in a civilized society. 02. The government has been terrorizing people through [arbitrary] arrests and indefinite detentions. 03. If you don t explain your marking system… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • arbitrary — adjective Date: 15th century 1. depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by law < the manner of punishment is arbitrary > 2. a. not restrained or limited in the exercise of power ; ruling by abso …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • arbitrary — In an unreasonable manner, as fixed or done capriciously or at pleasure. Without adequate determining principle; not founded in the nature of things; nonrational; not done or acting according to reason or judgment; depending on the will alone;… …   Black's law dictionary