- made, done, or happening without method or conscious decision > Brit. informal rather strange; odd
- Statistics governed by or involving equal chances for each item
- (of masonry) with stones of irregular size and shape
The word random originated from the Proto-Germanic word *randa (the asterisk meaning that the word has been reconstructed using the comparative method and might have been more or less different originally), and later on used in several other languages such as Old French (randir = ‘to run fast’, randon = ‘rush’, ‘disorder’), Old High German (rennen = ‘to run’), Old English (rinnan = ‘to flow’, ‘to run’) and Middle English (randon = ‘speed’, ‘impetuosity’).
In the 1980s, American college students started using the word when speaking of inferior or undesirable people (‘the common folk’). It has even been described by an American journalist as ‘person who does not belong on our dormitory floor’.