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 But erratic price movements and persistent weakness are causing some investors to rethink its standing in financial markets. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Gold prices spike to highest level in nearly 8 years on coronavirus fears," 24 June 2020 The couple squabble, divorce, and remarry, and Tsuneno’s fortunes continue their erratic, fascinating fall and rise and fall. Lidija Haas, Harper's Magazine, "New Books," 23 June 2020 Reality break In mid-February, Martha Singer contacted Marseglia, who was familiar with her situation with Kim, and McManamon, a licensed professional counselor when Kim’s erratic and irrational behavior was escalating. Jo Ciavaglia, USA TODAY, "Lower Makefield family fights for info, treatment for mentally ill daughter in Bucks jail," 20 June 2020 Trump’s foreign policy choices are at the center of a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton, who argues that many of the president’s erratic actions are aimed at boosting his re-election chances. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization," 20 June 2020 After Tara finds her birth mother Grace on a DNA website, her adoptive mother Amy struggles to protect Tara as Grace shows erratic love for Tara, and toxic hatred toward Amy. Nina Zafar, Washington Post, "What to watch this weekend: ABC’s Father’s Day special with John Legend," 20 June 2020 The infusion of campaign cash has occurred as donors are motivated to act both by the civil rights protests that have erupted nationwide and by the Trump administration’s erratic handling of the pandemic. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "Cash floods into pro-Biden super PAC," 19 June 2020 The climax of the film puts Tobias face-to-face with death in an encounter with a young, conflicted, and erratic terrorist named Vedat (Omid Memar). Omar Sanchez, EW.com, "Joseph Gordon-Levitt has faced death on screen before, but never like in 7500," 16 June 2020 Testing and contact tracing in the United States have been erratic. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Is it safe to fly yet? 2 Arizona scientists assess coronavirus risks, suggest precautions," 15 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.

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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

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Erratic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erratic. Accessed 8 Jul. 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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