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Vocabulary Word

Word: arbitrary

Definition: unreasonable or capricious; random; tyrannical; Ex. arbitrary ruler


Sentences Containing 'arbitrary'

There is difficulty because we have not selected an arbitrary unit of work.
These services, therefore, being almost entirely arbitrary, subjected the tenant to many vexations.
Even the violent and arbitrary government of Spain has, upon many occasions, been obliged to recall or soften the orders which had been given for the government of her colonies, for fear of a general insurrection.
This superiority of conduct is suitable both to the character of the French nation, and to what forms the character of every nation, the nature of their government, which, though arbitrary and violent in comparison with that of Great Britain, is legal and free in comparison with those of Spain and Portugal.
The law, so far as it gives some weak protection to the slave against the violence of his master, is likely to be better executed in a colony where the government is in a great measure arbitrary, than in one where it is altogether free.
But in a country where the government is in a great measure arbitrary, where it is usual for the magistrate to intermeddle even in the management of the private property of individuals, and to send them, perhaps, a lettre de cachet, if they do not manage it according to his liking, it is much easier for him to give some protection to the slave; and common humanity naturally disposes him to do so.
This prohibition, joined to the restraints imposed by the ancient provincial laws of France upon the transportation of corn from one province to another, and to the arbitrary and degrading taxes which are levied upon the cultivators in almost all the provinces, discouraged and kept down the agriculture of that country very much below the state to which it would naturally have risen in so very fertile a soil, and so very happy a climate.
During the continuance of this state of things, therefore, the corruption of justice, naturally resulting from the arbitrary and uncertain nature of those presents, scarce admitted of any effectual remedy.
In its nature, it is arbitrary and discretionary; and the persons who exercise it, neither attending upon the lectures of the teacher themselves, nor perhaps understanding the sciences which it is his business to teach, are seldom capable of exercising it with judgment.
Whoever has attended for any considerable time to the administration of a French university, must have had occasion to remark the effects which naturally result from an arbitrary and extraneous jurisdiction of this kind.
The tax which each individual is bound to pay, ought to be certain and not arbitrary.
The application is pretty much regulated according to the discretion of the intendant of the generality, and must, therefore, be in a great measure arbitrary.
The real taille, as it is imposed only upon a part of the lands of the country, is necessarily an unequal, but it is not always an arbitrary tax, though it is so upon some occasions.
The personal taille, as it is intended to be proportioned to the profits of a certain class of people, which can only be guessed at, is necessarily both arbitrary and unequal.
The latter is either altogether arbitrary, or altogether unequal, and, in most cases, is both the one and the other; the former, though in some respects unequal, different slaves being of different values, is in no respect arbitrary.
This fine, which was at first arbitrary, came, in many countries, to be regulated at a certain portion of the price of the land.
They are in no respect arbitrary, but are, or may be, in all cases, perfectly clear and certain.
They give occasion, it is pretended, to much extortion in the officers of the farmers-general who collect the tax, which is in a great measure arbitrary and uncertain.
His assessment, therefore, must, in most cases, depend upon the good or bad humour of his assessors, and must, therefore, be altogether arbitrary and uncertain.
In France, the great easily submit to a considerable degree of inequality in a tax which, so far as it affects them, is not a very heavy one; but could not brook the arbitrary assessment of an intendant.
This classification is not arbitrary like the grouping of the stars in constellations.
Several of the best botanists, such as Mr. Bentham and others, have strongly insisted on their arbitrary value.
A naturalist, struck with a parallelism of this nature, by arbitrarily raising or sinking the value of the groups in several classes (and all our experience shows that their valuation is as yet arbitrary), could easily extend the parallelism over a wide range; and thus the septenary, quinary, quaternary and ternary classifications have probably arisen.
Arbitrary law had not yet established itself in the mind of the judge, for then there was no cause to judge and no one to be judged.
It must invent or imagine some event, which it ascribes to the object as its effect; and it is plain that this invention must be entirely arbitrary.
And as the first imagination or invention of a particular effect, in all natural operations, is arbitrary, where we consult not experience; so must we also esteem the supposed tie or connexion between the cause and effect, which binds them together, and renders it impossible that any other effect could result from the operation of that cause.
It could not, therefore, be discovered in the cause, and the first invention or conception of it, _a priori_, must be entirely arbitrary.
And even after it is suggested, the conjunction of it with the cause must appear equally arbitrary; since there are always many other effects, which, to reason, must seem fully as consistent and natural.
Is it not even experience, which makes him answer to his name, and infer, from such an arbitrary sound, that you mean him rather than any of his fellows, and intend to call him, when you pronounce it in a certain manner, and with a certain tone and accent?
It gives an account of a state of the world and of human nature entirely different from the present: Of our fall from that state: Of the age of man, extended to near a thousand years: Of the destruction of the world by a deluge: Of the arbitrary choice of one people, as the favourites of heaven; and that people the countrymen of the author: Of their deliverance from bondage by prodigies the most astonishing imaginable: I desire any one to lay his hand upon his heart, and after a serious consideration declare, whether he thinks that the falsehood of such a book, supported by such a testimony, would be more extraordinary and miraculous than all the miracles it relates; which is, however, necessary to make it be received, according to the measures of probability above established.
Let your gods, therefore, O philosophers, be suited to the present appearances of nature: and presume not to alter these appearances by arbitrary suppositions, in order to suit them to the attributes, which you so fondly ascribe to your deities.
For even granting this to be the case (which can seldom be supposed), the very continuation and exertion of a like energy (for it is impossible it can be absolutely the same), I say, this exertion of a like energy, in a different period of space and time, is a very arbitrary supposition, and what there cannot possibly be any traces of in the effects, from which all our knowledge of the cause is originally derived.
When I had groped my way, blindly, through these difficulties, and had mastered the alphabet, which was an Egyptian Temple in itself, there then appeared a procession of new horrors, called arbitrary characters; the most despotic characters I have ever known; who insisted, for instance, that a thing like the beginning of a cobweb, meant expectation, and that a pen-and-ink sky-rocket, stood for disadvantageous.
Though, in these cases, the direction taken by any one whale be straight as a surveyor's parallel, and though the line of advance be strictly confined to its own unavoidable, straight wake, yet the arbitrary VEIN in which at these times he is said to swim, generally embraces some few miles in width (more or less, as the vein is presumed to expand or contract); but never exceeds the visual sweep from the whale-ship's mast-heads, when circumspectly gliding along this magic zone.

More Vocab Words

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::: transpire - (of a fact) become known; be revealed; happen; give off (watery waste matter) through pores
::: recalcitrant - disobedient or resisting authority even after being punished; obstinately stubborn; determined to resist authority; unruly; Ex. recalcitrant child
::: progeny - children; offspring; descendants
::: conscript - draftee; person forced into military service; V.
::: viper - poisonous snake
::: fatuous - smugly and unconsciously foolish; inane; silly; N. fatuity, fatuousness
::: blotch - spot; blot; CF. blot+botch
::: witless - lacking intelligence or wit; foolish; idiotic
::: inchoate - (of desire, wish, plan) recently begun; not explicit; at the beginning of development; rudimentary; elementary; Ex. inchoate mass