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Definition of Arbitrary


  1. Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment.
  2. Exercised according to one's own will or caprice, and therefore conveying a notion of a tendency to abuse the possession of power.
  3. Despotic; absolute in power; bound by no law; harsh and unforbearing; tyrannical; as, an arbitrary prince or government.

Arbitrary Quotations

All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values.
Marshall McLuhan

Gold and silver, like other commodities, have an intrinsic value, which is not arbitrary, but is dependent on their scarcity, the quantity of labour bestowed in procuring them, and the value of the capital employed in the mines which produce them.
David Ricardo

You hear a lot about God these days: God, the beneficent; God, the all-great; God, the Almighty; God, the most powerful; God, the giver of life; God, the creator of death. I mean, we're hearing about God all the time, so we better learn how to deal with it. But if we know anything about God, God is arbitrary.
Bob Dylan

I make a distinction between manners and etiquette - manners as the principles, which are eternal and universal, etiquette as the particular rules which are arbitrary and different in different times, different situations, different cultures.
Judith Martin

I was a terrible student. Still, I managed to get into college, but my daydreaming threatened to sabotage me. I used behavior modification to break the cycle. I started by setting an arbitrary time limit on studying: for every 15 minutes of study, I'd allow myself an hour of daydreaming. I set the alarm.
Sandra Cisneros
More "Arbitrary" Quotations

Arbitrary Translations

arbitrary in Dutch is willekeurig, arbitrair, eigenmachtig
arbitrary in Finnish is mielivaltainen
arbitrary in French is arbitraire
arbitrary in Italian is arbitrario
arbitrary in Spanish is arbitrario
arbitrary in Swedish is godtycklig
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