Not sure if this should go in “general questions” or not, so apologies if this is in the wrong forum.
I need help with trying to find the right word. It’s not a very common word, but most educated people would know what it meant if they heard it.
Lets say that you’re going thru security at an airport and the TSA agent notices that you have a bottle of OJ and says that you are not allowed to have it, due to the “no liquid” rule. So, you produce a note from your doctor stating that it’s medically necessary, and you are allowed thru with it. But, the TSA agent doesn’t like your attitude and decides that you need a body search, not because he suspects that you have any contraband, but because he just wants to inconvenience you a bit and show you who’s boss. The word is also used to describe something that is not illegal (or against the rules), but is often scrutinized anyway. I think the word ends with an “ry”. Similar words might be obligitory, retaliatory…but these are not the words I’m looking for. “I received a(n) [insert word] pat-down, even though I had all of the correct documents.”
An aside – I really like Roget’s International Thesaurus for this kind of thing. (I have an earlier version of this one). Rather than just listing synonyms, it groups words according to idea. So if you start somewhere in the ballpark of the word you think you want, you can usually browse around in the same general idea category until you find it.
Speaking of which, I probably need to get a new one. Mine is 20 years old now. Damn.
Whaaa? That’s not what arbitrary means. You want something like “punitive” or “spiteful”. “Arbitrary” suggests that he did it on a whim or that he has the sole authority to do it, not that he did it with intent to spite you.
Yeah punitive, if as the OP writes: *
'…the TSA agent doesn’t like your attitude and decides that you need a body search, not because he suspects that you have any contraband, but because he just wants to inconvenience you a bit and show you who’s boss."*