errant

play
adjective er·rant \ˈer-ənt, ˈe-rənt\

Definition of errant

  1. 1 :  traveling or given to traveling an errant knight

  2. 2a :  straying outside the proper path or bounds an errant calfb :  moving about aimlessly or irregularly an errant breezec :  behaving wrongly an errant childd :  fallible

errant

noun

errantly

adverb

errant was our Word of the Day on 03/05/2008. Hear the podcast!

Examples of errant in a sentence

  1. what he considers to be no more than errant conduct toward women would be regarded as sexual harassment by most people

  2. the errant gunslinger as a standard character in western novels

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.")

Origin and Etymology of 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


First Known Use: 14th century


ERRANT Defined for English Language Learners

errant

play
adjective er·rant \ˈer-ənt, ˈe-rənt\

Definition of errant for English Language Learners

  • : behaving wrongly

  • : going outside the proper area

  • sports : not going in the intended direction : not accurate


ERRANT Defined for Kids

errant

play
adjective er·rant \ˈer-ənt\

Definition of errant for Students

  1. 1 :  wandering in search of adventure an errant knight

  2. 2 :  straying from a proper course an errant golf ball



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