Word of the Day

Saturday, April 27, 2013

aleatory

\EY-lee-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, AL-ee-\ , adjective;
1.
of or pertaining to accidental causes; of luck or chance; unpredictable: an aleatory element.
2.
Law. depending on a contingent event: an aleatory contract.
3.
Music. employing the element of chance in the choice of tones, rests, durations, rhythms, dynamics, etc.
Quotes:
...it was not a matter of reduction at all, but—perversely—of expansion, the aleatory flutter of uncontrolled, metastatic growth…
-- David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, 1996
[Man] is supposed to love happiness; it is my contention that he rather loves excitement. Danger, enterprise, hope, the novel, the aleatory, are dearer to man than regular meals.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, The Day After To-morrow, 1866
Origin:
Hailing from the Latin word meaning "the dice" or "chance" alea, aleatory first surfaced in English in the late seventeenth century.
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