err

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verb \ˈer, ˈər\

Definition of err

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  stray

  3. 2a :  to make a mistake erred in his calculations erred on the side of cautionb :  to violate an accepted standard of conduct

Examples of err in a Sentence

  1. I may have erred in my calculations.

  2. The court erred in refusing to allow bail.

Recent Examples of err from the Web

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

Is it human to err?

Many people are familiar with the word err from encountering it in the epigram “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” This phrase is found in Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism, from 1711. Earlier expressions of the same sentiment exist, as in Thomas Jones’ 1678 book, Of the Heart, and its Right Soveraign, which contains the line “to err, is human, to recover, is Angelical; to persevere is Diabolical.”

Err is also often found in the phrase err on the side of caution, to suggest that being overly cautious is better than not being cautious enough.

Err stems from the Latin word errare, meaning “to stray, wander,” and it retained that meaning when it first entered English. We find the same Latin ancestor at the root of the words error, erratic, and erroneous.

Origin and Etymology of err

Middle English, from Anglo-French errer, from Latin errare to wander, err; akin to Old English ierre wandering, perverse, Goth airzeis deceived


First Known Use: 14th century



ERR Defined for English Language Learners

err

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verb

Definition of err for English Language Learners

  • : to make a mistake


ERR Defined for Kids

err

play
verb \ˈer, ˈər\

Definition of err for Students

erred

;

erring

  1. :  to make a mistake


Law Dictionary

err

play
intransitive verb \ˈer, ˈər\

Legal Definition of err

  1. :  to make an error the court erred in denying the motion



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