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

Other Words from errant

errant noun
errantly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for errant



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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

The teacher blamed the prank on errant students. the errant gunslinger as a standard character in western novels
Recent Examples on the Web Howard hit the ground awkwardly after trying to avoid being tagged on an errant throw to first base. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 Lopez then took third when López made an errant pickoff throw, scoring easily on Michael A. Taylor’s single to left. Nathan Ruiz, Baltimore Sun, 8 May 2022 During the knife-throwing act, the performer, Sir Kade, accidentally hit the human target, Trixie Turvy, with an errant throw. David Hill, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 Ernie Clement followed with a ground ball to third that Jake Burger made an errant throw to first. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 20 Apr. 2022 Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini tries to catch an errant throw as Milwaukee's Rowdy Tellez jumps over him in the third inning. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 13 Apr. 2022 Scottie Scheffler found himself in trouble after an errant approach on No. 3 left him short of the green. USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2022 In bathrooms and kitchens the technique guards drywall from, respectively, splashing water and errant olive oil. Alice Welsh Doyle, WSJ, 7 Apr. 2022 Woods made a sloppy bogey at the par-5 eighth, where a poor wedge shot and errant chip led to a 6. Paul Newberry, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near errant

errand boy



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Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Errant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for errant


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

More from Merriam-Webster on errant

Nglish: Translation of errant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of errant for Arabic Speakers


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