1. Law. depending on a contingent event: an aleatory contract.
  2. of or relating to accidental causes; of luck or chance; unpredictable: an aleatory element.
  3. Music. employing the element of chance in the choice of tones, rests, durations, rhythms, dynamics, etc.


  1. dependent on chance
  2. (esp of a musical composition) involving elements chosen at random by the performer

“of uncertain outcome,” literally “depending on the throw of a die,” 1690s, from Latin aleatorius “pertaining to a gamester,” from aleator “a dice player,” from alea “a game with dice; chance, hazard, risk; a die, the dice;” perhaps literally “a joint-bone, a pivot-bone,” and related to axis.

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