Definition of err
1 archaic : stray
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
I may have erred in my calculations.
The court erred in refusing to allow bail.
Recent Examples of err from the Web
Whether the District Court erred by ruling that Glass’s federal conviction for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine did not bar a subsequent state prosecution for possession of dangerous drugs on double jeopardy grounds.
Guess the officers should have done a better job of guarding the hen house, err, make that SUV.
There's no word yet on whether the idea has caused a covfefe — err, kerfuffle — with the Trump Organization.
That conviction was reversed after an appellate court determined Cannon erred by not letting the trial jury consider if Washington was guilty of second-degree murder.
However, declaring somebody a doper based on the test requires a judgment call, so labs tend to err on the side of caution.
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
Definition of err for English Language Learners
: to make a mistake
ERR Defined for Kids
Definition of err for Students
: to make a mistake
Legal Definition of err
: to make an error the court erred in denying the motion
Seen and Heard
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