erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ i-ˈra-tik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Definition of erratic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having no fixed course : wandering an erratic comet
2a : characterized by lack of consistency, regularity, or uniformity erratic dieting keeps erratic hours
b : deviating from what is ordinary or standard : eccentric an erratic genius
3 : transported from an original resting place especially by a glacier an erratic boulder
4 archaic : nomadic

erratic

noun

Definition of erratic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is erratic (see erratic entry 1) especially : a boulder or block of rock transported from its original resting place especially by a glacier

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Other Words from erratic

Adjective

erratical \ i-​ˈra-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce erratical (audio) \ adjective
erratically \ i-​ˈra-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce erratically (audio) \ adverb
erraticism \ i-​ˈra-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce erraticism (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for erratic

Adjective

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable. a journey filled with strange sights singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness. a singular feeling of impending disaster unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel. a career unique in the annals of science peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness. the peculiar status of America's first lady eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior. the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating. a friend's suddenly erratic behavior odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected. an odd sense of humor quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness. a quaint fishing village outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric. outlandish fashions of the time

Did You Know?

Erratic can refer to literal "wandering". A missile that loses its guidance system may follow an erratic path, and a river with lots of twists and bends is said to have an erratic course. Erratic can also mean "inconsistent" or "irregular". So a stock market that often changes direction is said to be acting erratically; an erratic heartbeat can be cause for concern; and if your car idles erratically it may mean that something's wrong with the spark-plug wiring.

Examples of erratic in a Sentence

Adjective My sinker has been my most erratic pitch. And when your foundation pitch is lacking, you have to go to other pitches. My sinker has been in and out, but mostly out. — Orel Hershiser, in New York Times, 9 May 1999 In winning his two-month match in Yugoslavia against Boris Spassky, 10 games to five, Bobby Fischer was erratic, which was hardly surprising considering his two-decade layoff, but there were times when he played more brilliantly than anybody could have expected. Sports Illustrated, 16 Nov. 1992 Over the centuries, in erratic ways, men have constructed a world in which they are relatively free of many kinds of threatening or harmful stimuli … — B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, (1971) 1972 so far your effort to land a summer job has been very erratic because of your erratic attendance at practice, you're in danger of being cut from the team
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Prude’s erratic behavior prompted his brother to seek medical attention, but a visit to Strong Memorial Hospital resulted in a release without treatment. Editorial Washington Post, Star Tribune, "Daniel Prude's death puts spotlight on mental illness, policing," 10 Sep. 2020 As Patrick grows up, and his father grows more erratic, their few interactions become venomous and mutually pathetic. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Three Kings,’ Hot Priest Sheds His Cassock," 6 Sep. 2020 The offense has had its hiccups and has continued its 2019 trend of over-reliance on homers and the starting pitching has been more erratic than anticipated given the talent level. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Plus: Bullpen saves the day as team navigates hazards in a successful first half," 26 Aug. 2020 The simple things like rotations, ultimate usage and synergy were erratic for the Fuel on Friday. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Dallas Fuel overcome tumultuous week, earn 3-2 win over Washington Justice in first match under interim coach ‘Yong'," 8 Aug. 2020 But Perkins was fired a month before the explosion after tenants complained about him and his behavior became more erratic, Leighty said. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Handyman was rude but didn’t cause Denver apartment explosion, defense attorney says," 15 Jan. 2020 Several people encountered him on West Main, with at least one person calling 911 to report his erratic actions, the police narrative said. Will Cleveland, USA TODAY, "Police used 'spit hood' on Black man who died of asphyxiation: What we know about Daniel Prude's death," 4 Sep. 2020 Joe Prude is seen in police body camera footage telling a police officer about Daniel's erratic behavior after his brother arrived in New York from Chicago on March 22. Melanie Schuman And Kelly Mccleary, CNN, "Daniel Prude's brother said he was acting erratic, suicidal before his deadly interaction with police," 4 Sep. 2020 Our lapses have killed many Americans because our control of the virus has been erratic. Richard Mason, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | RICHARD MASON: Interesting times are here again," 30 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Speidel was inspired to create these artworks from her fascination with glacial erratics, a type of rock that once was carried inside glacial ice and traveled hundreds of miles sometimes across thousands of years to its current resting spot. Nickole Kerner Bobley, Houston Chronicle, "Artfeel: Glacier-shaped rocks inspire artist Julie Speidel," 25 Apr. 2020 One of the biggest boulders is now enshrined at the Erratic Rock State Natural Site in McMinnville, a small state park that aims to educate visitors about these odd erratics. Jamie Hale, OregonLive.com, "Erratic Rock a small reminder of the big floods that shaped Oregon," 6 June 2017 Erratics are also found in the Columbia River Gorge. Jamie Hale, OregonLive.com, "Erratic Rock a small reminder of the big floods that shaped Oregon," 6 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erratic.' 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 erratic

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for erratic

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Latin erraticus, from erratus, past participle of errare — see err

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Time Traveler for erratic

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for erratic

Last Updated

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erratic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erratic. Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for erratic

erratic

adjective
How to pronounce erratic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of erratic

: acting, moving, or changing in ways that are not expected or usual : not consistent or regular

erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ i-ˈra-tik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Kids Definition of erratic

: not consistent or regular erratic behavior erratic movements

erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ ir-ˈat-ik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Medical Definition of erratic

1 : characterized by lack of consistency, regularity, or uniformity an erratic pulse
2 : deviating from what is ordinary or standard

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Comments on erratic

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