1. Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle: stopped at the first motel we passed, an arbitrary choice.
2. Based on or subject to individual judgment or preference: The diet imposes overall calorie limits, but daily menus are arbitrary.
3. Established by a court or judge rather than by a specific law or statute: an arbitrary penalty.
4. Not limited by law; despotic: the arbitrary rule of a dictator.
[Middle English arbitrarie, from Latin arbitrrius, from arbiter, arbitr-, arbiter; see arbiter.]
Synonyms: arbitrary, capricious, whimsical These adjectives mean determined by or arising from whim or caprice rather than judgment or reason: an arbitrary decision; a capricious refusal; a whimsical remark.
arbitrary /rbtrri/ adj. unwilling to use reason or listen to others, (syn.) dogmatic: He made an arbitrary decision to sell the house without asking his wife.-adv.arbitrarily /rbtrrli/.