11 Synonyms For “Random” And Even More Random Words!

OMG, that’s so random! The word random literally means “proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern.” However, since the 1980s, random has been used as a slang term to mean “a person or thing that is odd or unpredictable.” There is certainly something odd and unpredictable about randomness. In this spirit, we have selected 100 words at random. But first, to help us understand what random means a little better, check out these 11 terms that are synonyms for random.


Chance has a variety of meanings, including “the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled.” In other words, it is an expression of how random things are. The word chance comes from the Latin cadentia, meaning “a befalling, happening.” If this Latin word sounds familiar, that might be because it is related to the root of the cadence, “rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words.”


The word arbitrary can mean “based on whim or personal preference, without reason or pattern; random.” In the world of mathematics, it has a specific meaning: “undetermined; not assigned a value.” The related word arbiter means “a person empowered to decide matters at issue; judge; umpire.” In other words, something arbitrary is decided on by an arbiter.


Many of the synonyms for random come from the world of statistics. One of these is stochastic [ stuhkas-tik ]. It means “of or relating to a process involving a randomly determined sequence of observations each of which is considered as a sample of one element from a probability distribution.” The word is often used in the expression stochastic terrorism, “the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted.”


Haphazard means “characterized by lack of order or planning, by irregularity, or by randomness.” It can also mean “mere chance; accident.” The word haphazard comes from a combination of the terms hap and hazard. Hap? That’s right, hap is an old word meaning “one’s luck or lot,” from Old Norse happ.


A close synonym of haphazard is indiscriminate, which means “done at random or without making distinctions.” The word discriminate comes from the Latin discrīminātus, meaning “separated.” The prefix in- here means “un-” or “not.” Indiscriminate literally translates to “unseparated,” as in a thing that is not distinguished from something else.

If you were randomly wondering what the opposite of blue is, read this article to find out.


The word fluke means “an accidental advantage; stroke of good luck.” It’s especially used in sports and games, like billiards or tennis, to describe “an accidentally successful stroke.” When it comes to marine animals, fluke means something different—it describes flatfishes or a half of a tail of a whale, from Old English flōc, meaning “flat.”


A word for random that has more of a negative connotation than the others is desultory [ desuhl-tawr-ee ], which means “lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected, fitful.” The word comes from the Latin dēsultor, meaning “a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another.” Quite a feat!


The word aleatory [ ey-lee-uh-tawr-ee ] is a term for randomness that has a specific meaning in the legal profession. However, it more generally means “of or relating to accidental causes; of luck or chance; unpredictable.” It comes from the Latin āleātor, which means “gambler.” Ālea is “die” in Latin. You might be familiar with it from the Latin expression Ālea iacta est, “the die is cast.”


Contingent can mean “happening by chance or without known cause; fortuitous; accidental.” The word can also mean “liable to happen or not; uncertain; possible.” That’s why organized people make contingency plans, “a course of action to be followed if a preferred plan fails or an existing situation changes.”


In botany and zoology, extra limbs or unusual roots are not random, they are adventitious, “appearing in an abnormal or unusual position or place, as a root.” The word is more generally used to mean “associated with something by chance rather than as an integral part.” While it might seem like this word is related to advantage, it actually comes from the Latin adventīcius, meaning “coming from without, external.”


One of the most informal terms for random is willy-nilly, meaning “in a disorganized or unplanned manner; sloppily.” The word comes from the phrase will ye, nill ye. Nill? Nill is an archaic verb meaning “to be unwilling” or “to refuse or reject.” In other words, willy-nilly comes from an old-fashioned expression of “will he, won’t he?”

The quiz and 100 random words

You can test your knowledge of these random terms with our quiz here.

Or you can scroll on to see our list of 100 random words plucked willy-nilly from our dictionary. (Find another version of the list here—with flash cards, quizzes, and more!)

There's nothing random about how beautiful English can be. Here are some beautiful English words.

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