A program runs on a specific computer. The program and the computer are individually important. However, it is not important that the program run on this particular computer. We have several computers; it could run on any of them. It just ended up on this one because that's where it was installed.

What word describes the relationship between the program and the computer?

Casual and arbitrary are close, but I feel there's a better word that I cannot remember.

Arbitrary and coincidental feel like luck was involved, or it is some manner of accident.

  • 2
    How about "coincidental"? – Hot Licks Jan 5 '16 at 21:06
  • @HotLicks Speaking of coincidental, I am also born/raised in suburban, middle-class Louisville, KY, USA. And I worked in NJ for a while. I also have old t-shirts. And I'm a programmer. :-P – Tony Ennis Jan 5 '16 at 21:12
  • That's not coincidence, that's fate. – Hot Licks Jan 5 '16 at 21:16
  • You're simply mistaken about the meaning(s) of arbitrary, defined here as Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. It's actually not used very often in the same context as luck, because that generally occurs in the context of good / bad luck. Thus, the luck of the dice is usually good (or bad) for someone, but an arbitrary combination (of, say, computer hardware and software) usually implies it makes no difference which particular combination actually occurs. – FumbleFingers Jan 5 '16 at 21:36
  • Perhaps "due to a combination of circumstances" or "due to a confluence of events"? – Graffito Jan 5 '16 at 22:34



The circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded.



Belonging to, consisting in, or dependent on circumstances.



Occurring merely by chance or without intention or calculation.

(Merriam-Webster: environmental, circumstantial, incidental)

  • I like circumstantial for this but not environmental – Jim Jan 5 '16 at 21:20
  • @Tony Ennis Which word did you go with? – Kyle Jan 6 '16 at 14:07

Coincidental, accidental, tangential.

  • 3
    Welcome to the site. It's good to put links that have meaning of the suggested words, and a block quote of the relevant definition. This would show, for instance, that "coincidental" is a good match, but that "tangential" is a bit of a stretch. – jimm101 Jan 5 '16 at 21:48

perchance conceivably by some chance; Shakespearean soliloquy of Prince Hamlet
“to be or not to be” in Act-III, Scene-I. It reads as, “To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there’s the rub.” (http://literarydevices.net/to-sleep-perchance-to-dream/ )

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