1. Unpredictable (closest to mathematical definition); weird. "The system's been behaving pretty randomly."

2. Assorted; undistinguished. "Who was at the conference?" "Just a bunch of random business types."

3. (pejorative) Frivolous; unproductive; undirected. "He's just a random loser."

4. Incoherent or inelegant; poorly chosen; not well organised. "The program has a random set of misfeatures." "That's a random name for that function." "Well, all the names were chosen pretty randomly."

5. In no particular order, though deterministic. "The I/O channels are in a pool, and when a file is opened one is chosen randomly."

6. Arbitrary. "It generates a random name for the scratch file."

7. Gratuitously wrong, i.e. poorly done and for no good apparent reason. For example, a program that handles file name defaulting in a particularly useless way, or an assembler routine that could easily have been coded using only three registers, but redundantly uses seven for values with non-overlapping lifetimes, so that no one else can invoke it without first saving four extra registers. What randomness!

8. A random hacker; used particularly of high-school students who soak up computer time and generally get in the way.

9. Anyone who is not a hacker (or, sometimes, anyone not known to the hacker speaking). "I went to the talk, but the audience was full of randoms asking bogus questions".

10. (occasional MIT usage) One who lives at Random Hall.

See also: J. Random, some random X.

(01 Mar 1995)

Randall stone forceps, Rand, Gertrude, Rand, M < Prev | Next > random, random access memory

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1. Force; violence. "For courageously the two kings newly fought with great random and force." (E. Hall)

2. A roving motion; course without definite direction; want of direction, rule, or method; hazard; chance; commonly used in the phrase at random, that is, without a settled point of direction; at hazard. "Counsels, when they fly At random, sometimes hit most happily." (Herrick) "O, many a shaft, at random sent, Finds mark the archer little meant !" (Sir W. Scott)

3. Distance to which a missile is cast; range; reach; as, the random of a rifle ball.

4. <chemical>

The direction of a rake-vein.

Origin: OE. Randon, OF. Randon force, violence, rapidity, a randon, de randon, violently, suddenly, rapidly, prob. Of German origin; cf. G. Rand edge, border, OHG. Rant shield, edge of a shield, akin to E. Rand, n. See Rand.

Going at random or by chance; done or made at hazard, or without settled direction, aim, or purpose; hazarded without previous calculation; left to chance; haphazard; as, a random guess. "Some random truths he can impart." (Wordsworth) "So sharp a spur to the lazy, and so strong a bridle to the random." (H.

<medicine> Spencer) Random courses, stonework consisting of stones of unequal sizes fitted together, but not in courses nor always with flat beds.

(01 Mar 1998)

Randall stone forceps, Rand, Gertrude, Rand, M, random < Prev | Next > random access memory

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