3

Among friends, we describe a person as "so random" (he/she is so random) if that person says random things (often in group discussions). That is, we do not use it as defined below (i.e., he/she is "so odd").

random (informal, LDOCE #3):

strange, unusual, or unexpected

She's great - she's just so random!

odd (ODO #1):

Different to what is usual or expected; strange.

Therefore, I suppose we're misusing the informal random because the people we're trying to describe are not odd in general (or wonderfully odd like the Luna Lovegood character). They just come up with "the weirdest stuff" sometimes or come "out of left field" a lot (so to speak).

Question:

Is there an adjective to describe one who is apt to say random things (i.e., not a word that just means odd basically)?

If not, an accurate phrase (short and contemporary if possible) would be helpful. Thank you.


Update (20 May 19)

I stumbled upon this definition in Wiktionary (via a link found in a language log).

random (adjective, #6):

(colloquial) Characterized by or often saying random things; habitually using non sequiturs.

You're so random!

So, other people use it as we do, but it seems to be uncommon (and dated); that makes sense.

Thanks for off-the-wall (and offbeat); I forgot about them.

  • Questions on the following topics are welcomed here: Word choice and usage – KannE May 20 at 0:13
  • Is the person doing this on purpose? Out of creativity? Being a ditz? – aparente001 May 22 at 5:48
  • It's unintentional; it seems innate. I'll try to come up with examples ASAP. – KannE May 22 at 7:23
  • Maybe you mean quirky, like Erin in the later part of The Office? – aparente001 May 22 at 20:04
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    There's also wacky. // In my opinion, The Office isn't a gap, it's something to look forward to and savor, one episode at a time. We've been using it as part of the bedtime ritual for my teen who has a sleep disorder, and it's a great enticement to get homework done by the deadline. (We will need something else soon -- we're nearing the end.) On the other hand, my spouse detests it so I guess it's not for everyone's taste. – aparente001 May 23 at 17:39
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+100

Off the wall, informal, is defined by Google’s dictionary

1. eccentric or unconventional. synonyms: eccentric, zany, far out, freakish, quirky, idiosyncratic, unconventional, unorthodox, weird, outlandish, offbeat, off-center, bizarre, strange, unfamiliar; More 2. (of a person) angry. "the president was off the wall about the article"

“So random” is MIT/hacker slang from late 1960s and 1970s on into the 1990s.

  • 4
    The synonyms vary greatly in offensiveness. I'm progressive / not fettered by convention / free-thinking; you're unconventional; she's eccentric / offbeat; he's weird / zany (someone's 3-person declension view of life; I forget whose). – Edwin Ashworth May 18 at 11:24
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    I think 'offbeat' would do well as a posted answer. – S Conroy May 18 at 21:16
  • Off the wall, offbeat, free-thinking... "There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot" (Steven Wright). – KannE May 27 at 5:09
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Idiosyncratic

1a: characterized by idiosyncrasy, e.g., a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality

2: characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament)

Others: quirky, silly, eccentric, batty, off her rocker

3

Unpredictable, perhaps.

  • likely to change suddenly and without reason and therefore not able to be predicted or depended on.

'Unpredictable' suggests an attribute that may be fun or may be irritating, which fits with describing someone as 'so random'.

3

A more formal word for this would be

Aleatory

meaning "arising by chance", especially in the context of art or music, or art created with an element of randomness (arguably, random utterances is creating art using speech as a medium; for example, acting, or improv).

Jamie's latest stand-up comedy series garnered mixed reviews online; newer audiences raved over the cogent and biting social criticism woven into the jokes, while longtime fans were tired of predictable political jokes and preferred the comic's older, more aleatory style of toilet humour.

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    Here's a quote describing a person as aleatory: "If the analyst attempts to understand the patient's manic period, his mystical period, and his idealization of the psychiatrist — such an aleatory person — he runs the risk of thinking that it all hinges on the fact that he is attentive but the psychiatrist is not" (Herbert Rosenfeld at Work: The Italian Seminars, 2001) – MiCl May 22 at 19:40
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Not the best alternative, but in the context of someone saying or doing something “random”, thus making them be “so random” in the moment, arbitrary might work.

Arbitrary

Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system. ‘an arbitrary decision’

1

Eccentric.

Its origin means ‘out of centre’ - just like a person who is not ‘one’ with the group, is out of line with the group.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eccentric

  • This has already been mentioned in Xanne's answer and comments, Jelila. – Edwin Ashworth May 24 at 16:40
  • Xanne’s suggestion is ‘off the wall’, she uses eccentric to explain that, but isn’t suggesting ‘eccentric’ as an answer, @Edwin Ashworth. I’m suggesting ‘eccentric’ as it means ‘off centre’ which I think is appropriate. It also describes a person who acts in a way that is different from others so I think it’s a useful suggestion. – Jelila May 26 at 1:11

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