ar·​rant | \ ˈa-rənt How to pronounce arrant (audio) , ˈer-ənt \

Definition of arrant

: being notoriously without moderation : extreme we are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us— William Shakespeare

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from arrant

arrantly adverb

Examples of arrant in a Sentence

that statement is complete and arrant nonsense
Recent Examples on the Web Well, both of those statements are arrant nonsense. CBS News, "Transcript: Rep. Jerry Nadler on "Face the Nation," January 19, 2020," 19 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arrant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of arrant

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arrant

Middle English arraunt, variant of erraunt "wandering, itinerant" (reflecting lowering of ĕ to ă before r); arraunt, erraunt in sense "notorious, reprobate" (hence, "extreme") from its use in the collocation theef erraunt, erraunt theif "outlawed robber roaming the country" — more at errant

Note: The two spellings arrant and errant (and presumably the associated pronunciations) were used indiscriminately into the 17th century, after which arrant became limited to its current meaning; since Robert Baker's Reflections on the English Language (1770), usage commentators have considered errant in the sense "arrant" as an error.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arrant

Time Traveler for arrant

Time Traveler

The first known use of arrant was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for arrant

Cite this Entry

“Arrant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for arrant



English Language Learners Definition of arrant

somewhat old-fashioned + literary : of the worst kind


ar·​rant | \ ˈer-ənt How to pronounce arrant (audio) \

Kids Definition of arrant

: of the worst kind arrant nonsense

More from Merriam-Webster on arrant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arrant

Comments on arrant

What made you want to look up arrant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!