1

erratic

adjective er·rat·ic \ i-ˈra-tik \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of erratic

1 : having no fixed course : wandering
  • an erratic comet
2 a : 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

erratical

play \i-ˈra-ti-kəl\ adjective

erratically

play \i-ˈra-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

erraticism

play \i-ˈra-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

Examples of erratic in a Sentence

  1. 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 Hershiserin New York Times9 May 1999
  2. 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 Illustrated16 Nov. 1992
  3. 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. SkinnerBeyond Freedom and Dignity(1971) 1972
  4. so far your effort to land a summer job has been very erratic

  5. because of your erratic attendance at practice, you're in danger of being cut from the team

Recent Examples of erratic from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of erratic

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

Synonym Discussion of erratic

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

2

erratic

noun

Definition of erratic

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

Recent Examples of erratic from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of erratic


ERRATIC Defined for English Language Learners

erratic

adjective

Definition of erratic for English Language Learners

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


ERRATIC Defined for Kids

erratic

adjective er·rat·ic \ i-ˈra-tik \

Definition of erratic for Students

: not consistent or regular
  • erratic behavior
  • erratic movements

Medical Dictionary

erratic

adjective er·rat·ic \ ir-ˈat-ik \

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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