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

Moulin then allegedly merged north onto Interstate 89 and continued in an erratic manner, police said. Maria Lovato, BostonGlobe.com, "N.H. State Police arrest man on drunken driving charges after high-speed pursuit," 9 July 2019 Albert Brown and Kevin Brown, both Cincinnati officers, responded to the park in Madisonville on a report of an erratic man wielding a knife. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Prosecutor will not press charges against CPD officer who shot man armed with knife," 6 July 2019 Coupled with increasingly erratic rainfall and a severe heat wave, the belated monsoon season has had devastating consequences. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Satellite Images Reveal the Extent of Chennai’s Water Shortage," 5 July 2019 And, like all of India’s 1.3bn people, Chennai’s thirsty inhabitants may very well face long-term dangers from climate change, one effect of which is more erratic rainfall. The Economist, "Thirsty Indian cities have a management problem, not a water problem," 4 July 2019 Beyond him sat Anton Stralman, a veteran defenseman brought to settle down the Panthers’ erratic defense. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, "Hyde: The Panthers’ summer of love now brings Sergei Bobrovsky | Commentary," 2 July 2019 Furthermore, all of these climbers would be closely watching the erratic weather, looking to time their summit attempts for the few days each season when the winds abate and the skies clear. National Geographic, "Inside the Everest expedition that built the world’s highest weather station," 27 June 2019 Long story short: an increasingly erratic Trish ultimately shoots Alisa in front of Jessica. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Jessica Jones S3 is flawed but packs a powerful payoff in the end," 24 June 2019 Last December, as Donald Trump’s erratic regime was falling into increasing disarray, the political-media class briefly united in celebration of an exercise in bipartisanship: the First Step Act. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019

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

Statistics for erratic

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for erratic

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

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More Definitions for erratic

erratic

adjective

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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