A sample sentence would be:

We can't ban him if there is no genuine reason.

Is there a single word to replace "[if / where] there is no genuine reason" with? Indiscriminately is not an option for me.

  • 11
    There is a difference between doing something for no reason and doing something for a reason that is not disclosed. Your title says one thing and your sentence the other.
    – Oldcat
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:30
  • The post does seem somewhat contradictory. To avoid any confusion, I meant the former.
    – Nick
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:39
  • 2
    Then "Why did you ban me without cause" or "without reason" seem fine at any level of formality.
    – Oldcat
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    @Nick As an aside, "without any reason" is not the same as saying "without providing a reason."
    – Elian
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 21:11
  • 2
    Please edit your title, (you could ask in chat for advice) it IS different from the example you have given.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:16

13 Answers 13


Unjustifiably comes to mind: a reason is needed to justify an action. Or possibly perversely. Or unreasonably.

unjustifiable : Not able to be shown to be right or reasonable

perverse : Showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable

unreasonable : Not guided by or based on good sense

Oxford Dictionaries Online

However, without providing a reason doesn't mean that there isn't one and the ban cannot be justified.

  • Interesting. I feel as if the last word fits the context correctly.
    – Nick
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:40
  • 1
    @Nick If you like an answer, upvote. If you decide to use an answer, accept. You get rep too.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:43
  • I am waiting to see if any other answers show up that may be better than this one. Also, I can't upvote.
    – Nick
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:44
  • Ah. Forgot, sorry.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:50
  • 2
    Maybe these suggestions work for you, but this is not quite the right answer to the stated question. These words imply that the moderator had a reason, and that the reason was a bad one. In contrast, @Wayfaring's top-voted answer (arbitrary, capricious) expresses the sentiment that the ban was not based on any consistent thought process. Commented May 20, 2014 at 13:20

Your action in banning me was arbitrary and capricious, you'll be hearing from my solicitors shortly.

  • Ha! That level of formality is perfect. I can see myself using this in the near future.
    – Nick
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:48

Consider gratuitously and unwarrantedly for "without any reason," and "unexplainedly" for without providing a reason.

gratuitous: being without apparent reason, cause, or justification.

unwarranted: without a basis for reason or fact; unjustified.

unexplainedly: without explanation.

Sources: Random House Dictionary, The Free Dictionary, Wiktionary

  • +1 for gratuitously. +1 for unwarranted too but -1 for "unexplainedly" (my spell checker agrees with me) Total= 1
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 3:54
  • @Mari-LouA: Eh.. Spell checkers can only be so comprehensive. The word is formed according to established rules, and i've heard it in use.
    – cHao
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 17:57
  • @chao how can unexplainedly make sense as an adverb? "He unexplainedly left"? It sounds awkward and ugly, but I am an ancient thing, and new words and workarounds appear constantly.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 18:21
  • @Mari-LouA: It's less awkward if you pronounce it un-ex-plain-ed-ly rather than un-ex-plained-ly. It's still a bit of a mouthful, but so are most of the other suggestions. And it's just as much a word as "undoubtedly".
    – cHao
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 19:13
  • Inexplicably instead of unexplainedly?
    – Praesagus
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 16:53

I would say that your banishment was -

  • groundless
  • baseless
  • reasonless
  • prejudiced
  • irrational
  • nonsensical
  • unsubstantiated
  • and without consideration

Sorry if I copied any words from other answers, I was getting into my Jackie Chiles zone.

  • Who is Jackie Chiles? Yes, I know. Google it. sigh EDIT youtube.com/watch?v=jpcEietIoxk Very funny :) Thanks.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 3:56
  • @Mari-LouA - I was trying to see how many I could come up without looking anywhere. I had more but they were iffy. Everything on Seinfeld is funny! Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:06
  • and without cause...
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:17
  • @mxyzplk - or without merit. Merit is a Jackie word. I should have gotten both of those. Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:48
  • 1
    All of those are great except prejudiced, which would mean that the decision maker had a reason for banning the person.
    – IQAndreas
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 2:55

You may write:

  • On what account did you ban me?
  • Helpful. But it would be more convenient if that was contracted into a single word.
    – Nick
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 20:45
  • 4
    Contracted to one word: Onwhataccountdidyoubanme?
    – user63230
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 23:27

ideas: unnecessarily, unprovoked


I happen to like wantonly in this instance, but only because the motives are unknown.


I would like to submit the word randomly for "without any reason."

  • I guess randomness has to do about being unpredictable rather than being reasonless.
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 7:46

"Irrationally", I guess, would best describe "without any reason".

Your act of banning me was irrational.


You acted irrationally by banning me.

"Ridiculously", also may be used in this context but it does not communicate the meaning as strongly.


I am not sure how one would way measure the formality of these.

  • Lacking Jurisprudence
  • Sans scriptura (religious context)
  • Hakuna matata
  • Impertinent
  • Impetuous
  • Unscrupulous
  • Unsystematic

I think "arbitrarily" fits.

See http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/arbitrary


I think that FumbleFingers asks a very cogent question in his comment beneath the original question:

How can it possibly make sense to ask Why...? about an action which is specifically identified as not having a reason?

The answer, I think, is that the author isn't saying to the person or entity whom he is addressing, "Please explain why you did this inexplicable thing" (which would, as FumbleFingers observes, be highly illogical), but rather "Please explain why you did this unexplained thing" (which simply asks for information not heretofore provided).

Unfortunately, most of the answers given here (including the one that the OP accepted and the one that received the most votes) suggest modifiers that mean "without any good, fair, or rational reason," not "without providing a reason." It seems to me that the suggestion that most accurately expresses the idea of "without providing a reason" is Elian's unexplainedly.

Unfortunately, as Mari-Lou A says in a comment to that answer, unexplainedly is not an especially widely used word in everyday English, though it has appeared in print since at least 1811, when Laetitia Hawkins used it in The Countess and Gertrude, volume 2:

We could point out many of these insular situations, where every one knows, guesses, or fabricates, what is done in their neighbors' homes, where nothing can occur unexpectedly and unexplainedly, without, like a comet, carrying an inflammable train.

Overall, a Google Books search of the years from 1914 through 2008 finds more than 450 matches for unexplainedly, including at least one match from every publication year since 1945. For example, from Earl Rovit and Gerry Brenner, "Of Tyros and Tutors" in Harold Bloom, ed., Ernest Hemingway (2005):

He [Nick Adams] also undergoes a puppy-love affair with a “nice” girl, which he is tremulously strong enough to break off. Unexplainedly “on the road,” he comes into contact with sentimental whores, sinister homosexuals, and a vaudeville team of professional assassins.

Nevertheless, though unexplainedly is a useful, precise, and relevant word, many people are not familiar with it. Another option is peremptorily, used in much the same sense that the adjective peremptory is in the phrase "peremptory challenge" (which refers to rejecting a potential juror from a trial jury "without assigning a cause" as Merriam-Webster puts it. But peremptorily is another rather flashy word, and that distracting quality may not suit the OP's situation (it also has connotations of imperiousness that may be unwelcome).

Ultimately, if you want to know why you were banned from some activity or location, the crucial question isn't "Why did the message notifying me of my banning not include an explanation?" but "Why was I banned?" If you want to ask both questions, I recommend putting the one about the lack of explanation second, and dispensing with any adverbial synonym for "without giving a reason." For example:

Why was I banned, and why didn't you tell me the reason when you imposed the ban?

But keep in mind that the more questions you ask, the less likely you are to get a satisfactory answer to any of them.


Try the word inexplicable.

Cambridge Dictionary defines it as follows:



unable to be explained or understood:

For some inexplicable reason, he's decided to cancel the project.

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