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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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.

| improve this answer | |
  • 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.