er·​rant | \ ˈer-ənt How to pronounce errant (audio) , ˈe-rənt\

Definition of errant

1a : behaving wrongly an errant child
b : straying outside the proper path or bounds an errant calf
c : moving about aimlessly or irregularly an errant breeze
d : fallible
2 : traveling or given to traveling an errant knight

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Other Words from errant

errant noun
errantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for errant


bad, contrary, froward, misbehaving, mischievous, naughty


behaved, behaving, nice, orderly

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Did You Know?

Errant has a split history. It comes from Anglo-French, a language in which two confusingly similar verbs with identical spellings ("errer") coexisted. One errer meant "to err" and comes from the Latin errare, meaning "to wander" or "to err." The second errer meant "to travel," and traces to the Latin iter, meaning "road" or "journey." Both "errer" homographs contributed to the development of "errant," which not surprisingly has to do with both moving about and being mistaken. A "knight-errant" travels around in search of adventures. Cowboys round up "errant calves." An "errant child" is one who misbehaves. (You might also see "arrant" occasionally - it's a word that originated as an alteration of "errant" and that usually means "extreme" or "shameless.")

Examples of errant in a Sentence

what he considers to be no more than errant conduct toward women would be regarded as sexual harassment by most people the errant gunslinger as a standard character in western novels

Recent Examples on the Web

This week, along with some great theories about dragons and Cersei's chances to rule, fans spotted an errant Starbucks cup in a Winterfell banquet scene featuring Emilia Clarke's character, Daenerys Targaryen. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Emilia Clarke Had the Best Response to That Starbucks Cup on Game of Thrones," 9 May 2019 After your base coat dries, sketch a few errant lines, shapes, and symbols over your nails with a black nail-polish pen. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "10 Easy and Fun Nail Designs to Copy This Summer," 7 May 2019 The Celtics turned it over on Smart’s errant pass coming out of a timeout, giving Indiana the ball back. Kyle Hightower, The Seattle Times, "Irving’s late layup lifts Celtics over Pacers 114-112," 29 Mar. 2019 Moreover, Mother Nature’s attempt to hit a tower can sometimes be ill-fated, as an errant side-strike might miss the tower altogether and hit something else. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "How tall buildings may have ignited a thundersnow assault during the bomb cyclone," 8 Feb. 2018 Wilmer Difo singled, went to third on Velasquez’s errant pickoff throw and scored on a double by Spencer Kieboom. Scott Lauber,, "Phillies pull out gutsy victory over Nationals to mark midpoint of the season," 30 June 2018 Sophomore second baseman Jonathon Artigues was hit by a pitch, moved to third on an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch, and scored on the flyout., "Grand slam leads Tulane baseball in 'much-needed' win at UConn," 28 Apr. 2018 Last year, at least 14 people died and 30 were injured when an errant firecracker hit a cache of fireworks in Puebla state. Kate Linthicum,, "At least 22 killed in fireworks explosions in a Mexican town with a history of deadly blasts," 5 July 2018 The Rockets defeated the Warriors 127-105 at the Toyota Center in Game 2 on Wednesday, taking full advantage of Curry’s errant shooting to even the series at one game apiece. Ben Golliver,, "Stephen Curry's Rare Shooting Slump Leaves the Warriors Looking Mortal," 17 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of errant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for errant

Middle English erraunt, from Anglo-French errant, present participle of errer to err & errer to travel, from Late Latin iterare, from Latin iter road, journey — more at itinerant

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Statistics for errant

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for errant

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

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More Definitions for errant



English Language Learners Definition of errant

: behaving wrongly
US : going outside the proper area
US, sports : not going in the intended direction : not accurate


er·​rant | \ ˈer-ənt How to pronounce errant (audio) \

Kids Definition of errant

1 : wandering in search of adventure an errant knight
2 : straying from a proper course an errant golf ball

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More from Merriam-Webster on errant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with errant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for errant

Spanish Central: Translation of errant

Nglish: Translation of errant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of errant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on errant

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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