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1 : depending on individual discretion (as of a judge) and not fixed by standards, rules, or law [the manner of punishment is ]
2 a : not restrained or limited in the exercise of power [an government]
b : marked by or resulting from the unrestrained exercise of power [protection from arrest and detention]
3 a : based on preference, bias, prejudice, or convenience rather than on reason or fact [an standard] [different provisions for the married and the unmarried were irrational and "K. A. Cohen"]
b : existing or coming about seemingly at random or by chance or as an unreasonable act of individual will without regard for facts or applicable law often used in the phrase arbitrary and capricious [an agency finding or conclusion of lack of evidence would be and capricious if the record afforded no substantial basis for such a finding "Irvin v. Hobby, 131 F. Supp. 851 (1955)"] NOTE: Under section 706 of the Administrative Procedure Act, a court shall set aside an agency's action, findings, or conclusions determined upon review to be arbitrary.
ar·bi·trar·i·ly [Ä r-bə-trer-ə-lē]
ar·bi·trar·i·ness [Ä r-bə-trer-ē-nəs]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.