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

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 After hitting an errant tee shot on the 15th hole Friday at a Tour event, Kevin Stadler slammed his 7-iron on the ground in anger. Fox News, "'So much blood' after angry golfer's club flies into crowd," 19 Aug. 2018 Oosthuizen, who was 3-under through his first eight holes, had to punch out after an errant tee shot and then three-putted for a double bogey. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Justin Rose on Colonial win: First thing I saw was Ben Hogan's name twice | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 27 May 2018 But none was left in worse shape than Jordan Spieth, whose two-stroke lead was erased by an errant tee shot into the woods. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "No. 1 exacts a toll at Masters for Jordan Spieth, other big names," 6 Apr. 2018 The errant gunshot, fired into the crowd amid a fight between other teenagers, ruptured Sakran’s trachea, severed his carotid artery and paralyzed his vocal chord. Meagan Flynn, The Seattle Times, "Shot in the neck at 17, this is the trauma surgeon now leading doctors against gun violence and NRA," 14 Nov. 2018 Additionally, if the burger has been constructed in accordance with standard protocol, the lettuce will now be under the patty, rather than on top of it, and so will double as a drip guard to catch errant drops of sauce. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Life hacks offer the siren song of painless self-improvement.," 5 Nov. 2018 No double-parked cars, no errant trash cans, no bikes chained to fences. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Let’s organize the city outside our front door with as much care as we do our homes," 30 Aug. 2018 Basically, there was enough glitter to ensure that anyone within a 10-foot radius of that box would be wiping away the errant sparkle for days afterward. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Can Marie Kondo Conquer Caboodles?," 17 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.

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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

12 Dec 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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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 nest or breeding place

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