er

1 of 5

interjection

ˈə How to pronounce er (audio)
usually with prolonged vowel
ˈä How to pronounce er (audio)
nonstandard
ˈər How to pronounce er (audio)
used to express hesitation

Er

2 of 5

symbol

erbium

ER

3 of 5

abbreviation

1
earned run
2
emergency room

-er

4 of 5

adjective suffix or adverb suffix

used to form the comparative degree of adjectives and adverbs of one syllable
hotter
drier
and of some adjectives and adverbs of two or more syllables
completer
beautifuller

-er

5 of 5

noun suffix

variants or less commonly -ier or -yer
1
a
: person occupationally connected with
furrier
lawyer
b
: person or thing belonging to or associated with
header
old-timer
c
: native of : resident of
cottager
New Yorker
d
: one that has
three-decker
e
: one that produces or yields
porker
2
a
: one that does or performs (a specified action)
batter
sometimes added to both elements of a compound
builder-upper
b
: one that is a suitable object of (a specified action)
broiler
3
: one that is
foreigner
in all senses -yer in a few words after w, -ier in a few other words, otherwise -er

Examples of er in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Interjection
Scroll through for a bit of culinary—er, sartorial—inspiration. Laia Garcia-Furtado, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2023 There’s now an official Windows app for Apple’s devices, for browsers, and for, er, Windows. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2023 Kate Beckinsale shone bright like a diamond—er, a sapphire—at Leonardo DiCaprio’s 49th birthday bash in Beverly Hills over the weekend. Hanna Lustig, Glamour, 13 Nov. 2023 Breslin’s accusation that writers on Jezebel yelled a lot—er, caterwauled—made sense. Anna Holmes, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2023 Or David Yates, a director best known for directing the solid back half of the Harry Potter series and, er, worst known for also directing the franchise’s Fantastic Beasts prequels that followed. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 26 Oct. 2023 Why, Dalal herself even has a favorite — er, least favorite — language mistake. John Kelly, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2023 This self-conscious yet unapologetic embrace of the film’s, er, rough edges is one of its charms, which are modest but not negligible. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2023 While the 75-minute, $22 bottomless mimosas may tantalize a rowdy crowd, its note on the menu warns anyone from losing their lunch — er, brunch. Lizzy Rosenberg, Peoplemag, 12 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'er.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective suffix or adverb suffix

Middle English -er, -ere, -re, from Old English -ra (in adjectives), -or (in adverbs); akin to Old High German -iro, adjective comparative suffix, Latin -ior, Greek -iōn

Noun suffix

Middle English -er, -ere, -ier, -iere; partly from Old English -ere (from Latin -arius); partly from Old French -ier, -iere, from Latin -arius, -aria, -arium -ary; partly from Anglo-French -ere, from Latin -ator -or — more at -ary, -or

First Known Use

Interjection

1862, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of er was in 1862

Dictionary Entries Near er

Cite this Entry

“Er.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/er. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

-er

1 of 2 adjective suffix or adverb suffix
ər;
 after some vowels, often  r;
 after  ŋ,
 usually  gər
used to form the comparative degree of adjectives and adverbs of one syllable
hotter
drier
and of some adjectives and adverbs of two or more syllables
completer
beautifuller

-er

2 of 2 noun suffix
ər;
 after some vowels, often  r
variants also -ier
ē-ər,
yər
or -yer
yər
1
a
: person connected with a particular job or occupation
furrier
lawyer
b
: person or thing belonging to or associated with
old-timer
c
: native of
New Yorker
: resident of
cottager
d
: one that has
double-decker
e
: one that produces or yields
porker
2
a
: one that does or performs (a specified action)
reporter
b
: one that is a suitable object of (a specified action)
broiler
3
: one that is
foreigner
Etymology

Adjective suffix or adverb suffix

Old English -ra (adjective suffix) or Old English -or (adverb suffix)

Noun suffix

derived from Old English -ere and Latin -arius (both noun suffixes)

Medical Definition

Er

1 of 2 symbol
erbium

ER

2 of 2 abbreviation

More from Merriam-Webster on er

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