Definition of arbitrary adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɑːbɪtrəri//
    , BrE//ˈɑːbɪtri//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɑːrbətreri//
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  1. 1(of an action, a decision, a rule, etc.) not seeming to be based on a reason, system or plan and sometimes seeming unfair The choice of players for the team seemed completely arbitrary. He makes unpredictable, arbitrary decisions.
  2. 2(formal) using power without restriction and without considering other people the arbitrary powers of officials
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (in the sense ‘dependent on one's will or pleasure, discretionary’): from Latin arbitrarius, from arbiter ‘judge, supreme ruler’, perhaps influenced by French arbitraire.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: arbitrary