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

Three stitches over his right eye, courtesy of an errant elbow from Orlando’s Mo Bamba two nights earlier. Jeff Mcdonald,, "For Spurs’ incoming rookies, the bond is real," 8 July 2019 More striking in this case was that, a mere four days after he was sentenced, the errant policeman was sitting in the front row of a class of 15 prisoners in Kamiti maximum-security jail outside Nairobi. The Economist, "Learn the law, hope for freedom," 4 July 2019 Gauff steadied herself right there, though, breaking right back with a pair of forehand passing shots that drew errant volleys. Howard Fendrich, Twin Cities, "Coco Gauff, just 15, shocks 5-time champ Venus Williams at Wimbledon," 2 July 2019 Gauff steadied herself right there, though, breaking right back with a pair of forehand passing shots that drew errant volleys. Howard Fendrich, The Denver Post, "Coco Gauff, just 15, shocks 5-time champ Venus Williams, 39, at Wimbledon," 1 July 2019 Nadal clinched victory on his first match point when Gasquet chopped an errant backhand long. Jerome Pugmire,, "Rafael Nadal easily beats Richard Gasquet to reach 4th round at French Open," 2 June 2018 Within the Longshui Modern Agriculture Demonstration Base, Mei Yue Gua (Beautiful Moon Melons) rest in planting troughs like errant soccer balls kicked into muddy gutters. Crystal Reid, Popular Mechanics, "This Tiny Island Is Trying to Save the World. But Why?," 12 June 2019 Shortstop Eddie Kasko led off with a single and went to second on starting pitcher Roger Craig’s errant pickoff throw. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top Cincinnati Reds games: No. 39 – Frank Robinson made Los Angeles Dodgers pay in 1961," 7 June 2019 The movement was started after an errant pass by U.S. goalkeeper Zach Steffen was intercepted by the Venezuelans about 25 yards from goal. Patrick Brennan,, "Live updates | Venezuela pounces on Zach Steffen error, leads USMNT 1-0," 9 June 2019

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

11 Jul 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

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something desired as essential

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