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[ahr-bi-trer-ee] /ˈɑr bɪˌtrɛr i/

subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one’s discretion:
an arbitrary decision.
decided by a judge or arbiter rather than by a law or statute.
having unlimited power; uncontrolled or unrestricted by law; despotic; tyrannical:
an arbitrary government.
capricious; unreasonable; unsupported:
an arbitrary demand for payment.
Mathematics. undetermined; not assigned a specific value:
an arbitrary constant.
noun, plural arbitraries.
arbitraries, Printing. (in Britain) (def 9).
founded on or subject to personal whims, prejudices, etc; capricious
having only relative application or relevance; not absolute
(of a government, ruler, etc) despotic or dictatorial
(maths) not representing any specific value: an arbitrary constant
(law) (esp of a penalty or punishment) not laid down by statute; within the court’s discretion

early 15c., “deciding by one’s own discretion,” from Old French arbitraire (14c.) or directly from Latin arbitrarius “depending on the will, uncertain,” from arbiter (see arbiter). The original meaning gradually descended to “capricious” and “despotic” (1640s). Related: Arbitrarily; arbitrariness.


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