Given a set of possible actions, you randomly pick one with no reason whatsoever, because you're a fool.

I did my exam by randomly choosing my answers.

A somewhat related word might be babbling, which suggests there is a foolish/nonsensical/dumb element in action. But babbling seems to be too focused on conversations rather than option-picking.

The question Single word for random selection doesn't have answers with the "foolish" element.


I like willy-nilly.

in a careless way, without planning

They can't just spend money willy-nilly.

Books lay scattered through the house willy-nilly.

In your example, it might be worded: I answered the exam questions willy-nilly.

  • This is an excellent answer, though a trifle informal. One that perfectly expresses what's needed but not one perhaps to include in a serious historical essay: viz. 'Napoleon at the gates of Moscow was moving his horse artillery "willy-nilly" from place to place.' Works better with 'Since winning $20 million on the lottery Fred and Mabel would do their shopping willy-nilly'. Incidentally, did you know that if you lived in 'Flyover country' in the UK you would be living under a Motorway intersection. So much for 'countries divided by a common language'.
    – WS2
    Nov 5 '13 at 6:29

I like "helter skelter" and "higgedly-piggedly," but "haphazardly" works, too.

  • 1
    Recently I asked for a suitable translation of the French word 'bêtement', and 'mindlessly' was the one I eventually accepted as being closest to the meaning I had in mind. Is that any good?
    – WS2
    Nov 3 '13 at 8:13
  • @WS2 I think so. That better matches the OP's intent (to insult the person's intelligence), while my three suggestions are more neutral.
    – Frank
    Nov 3 '13 at 8:19
  • @WS2 For what it's worth, I would translate 'bêtement' as 'foolishly' or 'stupidly'. 'Mindlessly' is a bit different. (Sorry for the off-topic comment.)
    – adj7388
    Nov 5 '13 at 1:57
  • @adj7388 This was extensively discussed under my OP of that question.
    – WS2
    Nov 5 '13 at 6:24

Consider capriciously:

Impulsive and unpredictable; determined by chance, impulse, or whim

Capricious connotes more recklessness than foolishness, but the distinction may not be that important to you.

  • Yes, that is how Napoleon moved his horse artillery. (see my above comment to JLG)
    – WS2
    Nov 5 '13 at 6:39

In other words "I am being a maverick" , since choosing randomly has an unpredictable outcome and doing so is being foolish enough.

  • Please, capitalize the beginning of a sentence and the pronoun, I. This is a site for lovers of English and presumably they (we) should know the basic rules of punctuation.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 5 '13 at 7:34

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