toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Go to Book

arbitrary
used in Moby Dick

only 1 use
(click/touch triangles for details)
Definition
based on chance or impulse (rather than upon reasoning, consistent rules, or a proper sense of fairness)
  • 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.
    Chapters 43-45 -- Hark!; The Chart; The Affidavit (17% in)

There are no more uses of "arbitrary" in Moby Dick.

Typical Usage  (best examples)
Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list — Onelook.com®