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December 21, 2009. arbitrary function: adjective pronunciation: /ˈɑːrbəˌtreri/ 1 : autocratic, despotic *2 : determined by whim 1 or caprice : existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance Example Sentence: *The 10 p.m. deadline 2 is arbitrary -- we could have easily selected another time for the contest to end -- but we had to pick a cutoff 3, and now it is set. Did you know? "Arbitrary" is derived 4 from the same source as the word "arbiter," which comes from the Latin word for "judge." English adopted it, via Anglo-French, with the meaning of "one who judges a dispute"; and it can now also be used for anyone whose judgment is respected. "Arbitrary" traces back 5 to the Latin adjective "arbitrarius" meaning "done by way of legal arbitration." In English "arbitrary" first meant "depending upon choice or discretion" and was specifically used to indicate the sort of decision (as for punishment) left up to the expert determination of a judge rather than 6 defined by law. Today, it can also be used for anything determined by or as if by a personal choice or whim.

2 3 4

whim /ˈwɪm/ deadline cutoff *derived


*traces back


rather than


(n) idiosyncrasy, capriciousness, caprice, volatility, whimsy (n) time limit, limit, finishing date, target date (n) limit, limitation (v) originate in, be rooted in; stem from, come from (verb phrase) extend back to; to be traceable (capable of being found or discovered) historically (preposition) instead of, in place of; as a replacement

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Merriam-webster for December 21, 2009  

Merriam-webster for December 21, 2009 - arbitrary