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.
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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.