Random Generators

I first built the Random Generators in 1997, starting with the Band Name Generator. I gradually added several others. Most of them are based on a technique of multiple passes of replacing keywords in phrases. They start with a template, then replace keywords with plain text or another keyword phrase. This goes on until only plain words are left.

A key component to this is the large database of classified words. I started with about 300 words originally, and coded an interface for people to add more. As of September 2006, the database had more than 40,000 words. Although there are some people who add garbage words, the majority of words are appropriate. In 2005, I added a system that tracks votes on words. This allows visitors to help with editing. Words with low vote counts are not used. Words with high counts are used more often.

If you’d like to leave a comment, please use the form below.

50 Responses to “Random Generators”

  1. Adwanoc says:

    I used your Random Generators to create the song “Algebraic SexMachine”. It can be found at my website http://normloman.googlepages.com/ by Adwanoc and the Deceptive Gecko Band! Thanks for your hard work!

  2. cp says:

    i made a rustic on the same idea :
    http://klimperei.free.fr/else/A_name_for_your_Band_!.htm
    all the best cp

  3. Elvis says:

    Dudes, chicks, whatever, that random chord generator is excellent. I just found it but I’m sure that it will help my guitar out tremendously. Thank you.

  4. Iron Chef says:

    u need a random pimp name generator where it puts like 3 words togather out of a list like:
    pimp, daddy, flex, powda, silk, smooth, pimpin, papi, funk, masta, trinkle, fly, sugar, caramel, cash, money, smooth, diesel, man, playa, etc..

  5. Ryan says:

    Hi Leon. Love your site. I was hugely inspired by your random lyric generator, that i made a song from the lyrics. And i actually recorded it !! Double dare for you.

    Great site

    -Ryan

  6. Leon says:

    Ryan: all of your songs on your MySpace page are instrumentals. Were you getting blank pages from the random lyric generator?

    Thanks,
    Leon

  7. hip says:

    This tool is great, some of the names it comes up with are hilarious, i’ll be sure to pass this on to all of my DJ friends as a lot of them are tired of just using their own names when advertising their gigs.

    Great work!

  8. Eartha says:

    Hey can you please remove the background for lyrics, it becomes distracting and its difficult to read when the background is red.

  9. David says:

    What’s up Leo, well i want to know if u can make a song called
    “loved-hated” please, specially about girls, u know something like u love her but she left u and u hate her at the same time u love her.

    Well, ur site is really cool and i think it’ll help a lot my band so if u got anything new please send me an email

    David

  10. Anne says:

    Hi Leon –

    How about a random website name generator and a random password generator?

    Thanks!
    – Anne

  11. Fabrizio says:

    Hi, I find way too many junk in the words db for the generator to be useful… you could take the “Bad word report” page a step further with a multiple selection feature, so one can vote down for many words with a single submit (and also increase the number of words displayed).

    An interesting feature would be the possibility for a user to save her own words database and have the generator use it on request, so it does not messed up by someone else’s “anal toys”…

    Ciao!

  12. LongLiveRock says:

    could please get rid of all the spam people have written!

  13. Leon says:

    It’s sad, but spammers are submitting words to the database. I can’t use the same techniques for catching email spam since they are just single words. The idea of bulk votes probably just puts off the problem for a little while. I don’t have the sense that there are enough people willing to fight it out as they do on wikipedia.

    I do have an idea, though. The least amount of work would be to disallow submitting words that I don’t already know are in the dictionary. That would definitely keep out undesirable words while still allowing anyone to contribute. I think I may need to roll back the clock on the words since there’s a tremendous number of junk words in there.

  14. Arno says:

    Hi,

    I can’t add any word, though it is correct English.
    It says it isn’t in the dictionary but who can something like “is eating donuts” be in the dictionary?

    Why don’t you try a CAPTCHA test to prevent spam?

    Ciao,
    Arno

  15. Leon says:

    Arno,

    I’ve let people enter whatever they wanted forever, but I recently switched it only accept dictionary words. See my comment above for why.

    Thanks,
    Leon

  16. Leon says:

    Yesterday I kicked out all the words that aren’t in the dictionary. I also added a facebook app that allows you to update your status with a random phrase. I’m currently working on Google Gadgets versions of the generators so you can plop them down on your iGoogle page and see random stuff every time you go to your start page. Weird? Yes.

  17. dom says:

    any chance of getting these as downloadable *.exes??!
    would be v nice..

  18. Hailey says:

    Could you take the Dictonary restriction off the Proper Nouns

  19. for the fellow requesting the pimp name generator, such can be found at http://www.playerappreciate.com, though i would like to say it’s not as fun as it might sound like it would be.

  20. Guillaume says:

    Hi! I see that we both love Random Generators and PHP. I would like to invite you to publish your random generators on a website dedicated to post-modern meta-art. Please contact me by email so we can talk about this.

  21. Guillaume says:

    Maybe you wan’t to check out my random generators at http://www.anticulture.net thank you! (There are midi music generators, comic book generators, lyrics generators)

  22. rhys says:

    ur generator inspired but didnyt make

  23. Snathi says:

    The translator seems to get confusing when it tries to replace words like ‘in’ or ‘as’. Like in this instance where it’s replacing “in” with “verbena” a noun.

    Original:
    Stephen Harper was born on April 30, 1959, in Toronto, Ontario. He moved to Alberta in 1978 to work in the petroleum industry and went on to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary.

    Translation:
    Stephen biomass unquestionably born on April 30, 1959, verbena Toronto, Ontario. He moved to Alberta verbena 1978 to postmodern verbena the petroleum industry and went on to obtain both a bachelor’s and a master’s phone verbena cuffs from the hairpiece of Calgary.

  24. Leon says:

    Yeah, someone submitted “in” and “as” as nouns. Bleh. Fixed that.

  25. Snathi says:

    From the advice generator gadget on Google:

    IF YOU ARE A INTESTINE, INITIATE BOWELS

    — MAYOR SOAPIER FENNEL (373 CE)

    I guess its telling you to be a self-starter? LOLOL!!!!
    Love the randomness!

  26. Jon T says:

    IT’S BETTER TO REMONSTRATE THAN STARE

    –INSIDIOUS MADAME RAVIOLI (1202 CE)

    That’s actually really good advice!!!!!!!, thanks Insidious Madame Raivoli!

  27. Cody says:

    Hey, I’m working on a random generator for cuss words:

    http://tivaelydoc.110mb.com/UCG.html

  28. Snathi says:

    Hmmm… I suppose this advice is valid considering the source of the quote:

    IT’S BETTER TO CHORTLE THAN LACTATE

    — MADAME LEAKY (1550 CE)

    LMAO!!

  29. Hey, Leon, how do we send you pictures for the comic generator?

  30. Leon says:

    Upload them somewhere and give me the link.

  31. Leon says:

    There are three things I need changed for these images to work. First, please use GIF. Second, please make the background transparent. Third, please name them in groups, like headface1.gif, headface2.gif, etc. Thanks!

  32. Thanks for adding them! Also, I’d like to ask something: could you make the chord generator allow minor keys? Thanks again!

  33. Charles says:

    🙁 What happened to the sentence and phrase generators? 🙁

  34. Erik says:

    Can I use your radom chord progessions/lyrics in my song?

  35. Steve says:

    love the site, i wrote a song, another supernova, from a line of one from your generator

  36. Harry says:

    you’re translator was awesome but why so many complicated scientific words? it just makes it less funny

  37. Grorgeo says:

    THE FDA IS CONSIDERING ADDITIONAL WARNINGS ON PACKAGES OF CHARLES SUCH AS:

    WARNING: CHARLES IS DOUBLEHEARTED AND HINDERER-LIKE.
    WARNING: CHARLES WILL GIVE YOU YOUR BLASTIDE-SQUINANCE AND EPICOENE DISCLAMATION.
    WARNING: CHARLES MAY CAUSE KING CILIUM-LIKE TO SMOKE…
    WARNING: LAKE AND PROMERIT IT.

    LOL!

  38. Larry Tuna says:

    Uh-oh. I only check in every few weeks for a few laughs, but the trend toward bizarre and unusual words has gotten out of hand. Random is fun, but only when you speak the language. I’d dial it down from post-doctorate to college sophomore.

  39. Hailey says:

    Could you take the dictionary blocks off the proper nouns?

  40. Leon says:

    The high-brow words people are noticing are from an import I did from an out-of-copyright dictionary. The real problem, as I see it, is that all the words are of equal weight. I have an idea to fix this. I think I can get a list of words that are more commonly used and bump their weight. That will let the rare words pop up sometimes but make the sentences more common-sounding.

    I don’t want to allow proper nouns any more. The word list became 50% names.

  41. Hailey says:

    I know, but I miss adding celebrities!

  42. Mescalito says:

    This is great! I love the random album generator.

  43. Whittacker says:

    Wow, I love these generators, but I think the album generator is broken, I don’t get any image.

  44. Leon says:

    The Flickr API stopped telling me about the license when I called interestingness.getList, so I switched the API call to use photos.search and now it’s working again. The photos are more random, which is probably for the best.

  45. Whittacker says:

    Also, are you ever going to get around to fixing the generators vocabulary being taken over by obscure words, or is this not a priority?
    (Not trying to be pushy)

  46. Whittacker says:

    Holy crap.
    I just had “MILES DAVIS” come up in the random band name generator, how unlikely is THAT?!

  47. nathan says:

    hello, this website is great, but i wish it would use more “normal” words – most of the words that are generated are awfully obscure………

  48. I used to use the generators for a ton of projects, primarily using the Essay and Song Lyrics generators to set up a page of text that I would then cut down and edit into five to six absurd lines. Luckily I was able to get a lot of this done before the total nonsense words flooded in.

    Anyway, I published a book of “poems” that were actually lyrics for a 40 song 7″ that never materialized, titled Hirsute Corpse. Everything in the book is a fiercely edited from source material ENTIRELY culled from the Random Generators.

    http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/hirsute-corpse/14925398

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