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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The action on his pitches was there and the adrenaline was obvious with his early erratic throws. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Casey Mize pitches in Comerica Park, just not the way everyone anticipated," 7 July 2020 The Brewers have high hopes for Urías, who gives them not only depth up the middle but also a viable candidate to push the erratic Orlando Arcia at shortstop. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers Luis Urías, Angel Perdomo test positive for COVID-19, are asymptomatic," 6 July 2020 Louisville sought ideas for creative ways of running the zoo last summer, in the hopes of tamping down erratic costs to the city from the zoo's budget, amid a few particularly rainy seasons and the sinkhole. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "City officials seek new management for Louisville Zoo due to 'budgetary challenges'," 2 July 2020 The usual rise and fall of estrogen levels become erratic. Leslie Pepper, Better Homes & Gardens, "Decoding Your Hormones: How to Navigate Your Body's Changes as You Age," 30 June 2020 The past decade has been marked by erratic tornado patterns, with huge year-to-year variations and numerous tornado outbreaks sandwiched between long dry spells. Max Claypool And Judson Jones, CNN, "Tornado Alley just had one of its slowest seasons ever," 30 June 2020 Police received a call at 5:59 p.m. June 16 about an erratic driver in the area who was possibly drunk. cleveland, "Thief has surf and turf on his menu: Middleburg Heights Police Blotter," 26 June 2020 The excerpt depicts Trump as an erratic, ill-informed, and unscrupulous leader eager to subordinate U.S. national security objectives to boost his own bid for re-election. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "The fallout of John Bolton’s China bombshells," 18 June 2020 Too many, and the commands become a cacophony that causes an erratic and overreactive immune response - a cytokine storm. Anchorage Daily News, "The ultimate COVID-19 mystery: Why does it spare some and kill others?," 17 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about erratic

Time Traveler for erratic

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for erratic

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erratic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erratic. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on erratic

What made you want to look up erratic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!