er·rant | \ˈer-ənt, 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

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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

Arcadia Bluffs offers tons of room to hit an errant tee shot and not be penalized, the fairways are like plush carpet and greenskeepers painstakingly remove poa annua so your putts roll true. Detroit Free Press, "Ranking Michigan's top 10 vacation golf courses," 21 June 2018 Billings was smacked in the mouth by an errant swing of his opponent’s wooden racquet. Tom Avril,, "British athlete in Philadelphia: 'if you must have your teeth knocked out, this is the place'," 25 Apr. 2018 Spieth stumbled a bit at the 18th hole, where an errant tee shot led to a bogey. Mark Heim,, "Latest 2018 Masters odds heading into Round 2, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy on rise," 5 Apr. 2018 Phil made a bogey at the par-5 2nd after an errant drive but bounced back with a birdie at 3. Daniel Rapaport,, "Masters Round 1 Live Blog: Tracking Tiger Woods and All the Action on Thursday," 5 Apr. 2018 More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Crying Wolf? Coyote Population, Incidents May Be Up, But Some Say Threat Not That Bad," 26 Mar. 2018 Although the council revealed no names, the California Commission on Judicial Performance has identified errant judges in the past, and a news organization reported a settlement last year. Maura Dolan,, "California courts paid at least $500,000 to resolve sex harassment suits against judges and employees," 24 Mar. 2018 In the McNeese game, a Cardinal leaped out of bounds to save an errant ball under the opposing basket. Roy Bragg, San Antonio Express-News, "UIW’s Smith building a work-in-progress," 16 Jan. 2018 However, another mistake by Sanchez on a cross allowed the Union to take a 3-2 lead in the 73rd minute courtesy of Burke, who put in a rebound left by an errant Sanchez clearance. Juan Pimiento,, "Accam's late goal earns Philadelphia a win over the Chicago Fire," 11 July 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 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

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Statistics for errant

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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

: going outside the proper area

sports : not going in the intended direction : not accurate


er·rant | \ˈer-ənt \

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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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