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

Definition of errant

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from errant

errant noun
errantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for errant


bad, contrary, froward, misbehaving, mischievous, naughty


behaved, behaving, nice, orderly

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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 Martinez then threw an errant pickoff attempt before getting out of the inning. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Miller Park sound crew capitalizes on eerie Cardinals defense with 'Ghostbusters' theme on Thursday night," 21 June 2018 After allowing a one-out walk to Jean Segura and giving him an extra base on an errant pickoff attempt, Smith worked around an ensuing single by inducing a pop-up and a come-backer to the mound. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals 4, Mariners 3: Late rally gives KC another Cactus League win | The Kansas City Star," 1 Mar. 2018 Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Steven Wine, The Seattle Times, "Iowa rallies past No. 18 Mississippi State in Outback Bowl," 2 Jan. 2019 Then, with one errant pitch, an injury derailed DeLunas’ career and shattered his MLB dreams. Alexa Philippou, The Seattle Times, "The most interesting man in baseball? It might be Mariners bullpen coach Brian DeLunas," 28 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of errant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about errant

Listen to Our Podcast about errant

Statistics for errant

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for errant

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to boil down or concentrate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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