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 Dear Former: In the case of the first couple, the wife might have a medical issue that has made her behavior increasingly erratic. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Amy: Couple wants to break up by backing away," 22 Nov. 2019 Former Friends Dear Former: In the case of the first couple, the wife might have a medical issue that has made her behavior increasingly erratic. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: What’s the best way to pull off a friendship breakup?," 22 Nov. 2019 Former Friends Dear Former: In the case of the first couple, the wife might have a medical issue that has made her behavior increasingly erratic. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Couple wants to break up by backing away," 22 Nov. 2019 Quarterback Jack Coan was erratic but made enough throws to complement Taylor and the ground game. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin 37, Nebraska 21: Jonathan Taylor surpasses NCAA rushing mark through junior season," 16 Nov. 2019 The increasingly erratic annual monsoon rains are often unable to make up for this depletion. Shivam Vij, Quartz India, "India’s Green Revolution, which once staved off famines, is now threatening lives," 7 Nov. 2019 Rather than project stability and confidence, Trump has acted more erratic than usual. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Easiest Impeachment Inquiry of All Time," 20 Oct. 2019 Jonjo Shelvey was erratic in possession before being hauled off midway through the second half - with replacement Ki Sung-yeung not faring much better. SI.com, "Report Claims Newcastle Coaching Staff Were Not Convinced by Decision to Release Mohamed Diame," 24 Sep. 2019 The strange behavior comes at a time when his car company, Tesla, has struggled mightily and his increasingly erratic behavior has made the spotlight on him even brigther. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Elon Musk and Howard Hughes eccentric, Hollywood-loving entrepreneurs who share much in common," 7 Sep. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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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Learn More about erratic

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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erratic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erratic. Accessed 19 January 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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