Dictionary > Arbitrary


1. Depending on will or discretion; not governed by any fixed rules; as, an arbitrary decision; an arbitrary punishment. It was wholly arbitrary in them to do so. (Jer. Taylor) Rank pretends to fix the value of every one, and is the most arbitrary of all things. (Landor)
2. Exercised according to one’s own will or caprice, and therefore conveying a notion of a tendency to abuse the possession of power. Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused licentiousness. (Washington)
3. Despotic; absolute in power; bound by no law; harsh and unforbearing; tyrannical; as, an arbitrary prince or government.
(Science: mathematics) (Dryden) arbitrary constant, arbitrary function, one to which any value can be assigned at pleasure.
Origin: L. Arbitrarius, fr. Arbiter: cf. F. Arbitraire. See Arbiter.

You will also like...

Human Nervous System
The Human Nervous System

The nervous system is essentially a biological information highway. This tutorial gives an overview of the nervous syste..

Freshwater Ecology
Freshwater Ecology

Freshwater ecology focuses on the relations of aquatic organisms to their freshwater habitats. There are two forms of co..

genes controlling growth and development
Control of Growth & Development

Control of Growth & Development tutorials look at how the genetic makeup determines the biological processes on a da..

Buttress roots

This study guide tackles plant roots in greater detail. It delves into the development of plant roots, the root structur..

Lights' Effect on Growth
Lights’ Effect on Growth

This tutorial elaborates on the effect of light on plant growth. It describes how different plants require different amo..

A chart depicting Mendel's Law of Dominance
Mendel’s Law & Mendelian Genetics

One of Mendel’s law of inheritance is the “law of dominance”. Read this tutorial to know more about this form of i..