Arbitrary vs Mechanical - What's the difference?

arbitrary | mechanical |


As adjectives the difference between arbitrary and mechanical

is that arbitrary is (usually|of a decision) based on individual discretion or judgment; not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random while mechanical is characteristic of someone who does manual labour for a living; coarse, vulgar.

As a noun arbitrary

is anything arbitrary, such as an arithmetical value or a fee.

arbitrary

English

Adjective

(arbitrariness) (en adjective)
  • (usually, of a decision) Based on individual discretion or judgment; not based on any objective distinction, perhaps even made at random.
  • Benjamin Franklin's designation of "positive" and "negative" to different charges was arbitrary . In fact, electrons flow in the opposite direction to conventional current.
    The decision to use 18 years as the legal age of adulthood was arbitrary , as both age 17 and 19 were reasonable alternatives.
  • Determined by impulse rather than reason; heavy-handed.
  • "The Russian trials were Stalin's purges, with which he attempted to consolidate his power. Like most people in the West, I believed these show trials to be the arbitrary acts of a cruel dictator." ( Max Born, Letters to Einstein)
  • (mathematics) Any and all possible.
  • The equation is true for an arbitrary value of x.
  • Determined by independent arbiter.
  • To secure food safety, there should first be a national standard to arbitrarily state what is wholesome and what is not; second, the final buyer should know exactly what he is purchasing. ( The World's Work ...: a history of our time)

    Noun

    (arbitraries)
  • Anything arbitrary, such as an arithmetical value or a fee.
  • mechanical

    English

    Adjective

    (en adjective)
  • Characteristic of someone who does manual labour for a living; coarse, vulgar.
  • *, I.43:
  • all manner of silks were already become so vile and abject, that was any man seene to weare them, he was presently judged to be some countrie fellow, or mechanicall man.
  • Related to mechanics (the branch of physics that deals with forces acting on mass).
  • Related to mechanics (the design and construction of machines).
  • Done by machine.
  • Using mechanics (the design and construction of machines): being a machine.
  • As if performed by a machine: lifeless or mindless.
  • (of a person) Acting as if one were a machine: lifeless or mindless.
  • *, chapter=15
  • , title= The Mirror and the Lamp , passage=Edward Churchill still attended to his work in a hopeless mechanical manner like a sleep-walker who walks safely on a well-known round. But his Roman collar galled him, his cossack stifled him, his biretta was as uncomfortable as a merry-andrew's cap and bells.}}
  • (informal) Handy with machines.
  • Derived terms

    * electromechanical * mechanical erasure * mechanicality * mechanically * mechanicalness * mechanical pencil * postmechanical * premechanical