er·ro·ne·ous | \i-ˈrō-nē-əs, e-\

Definition of erroneous 

1 : containing or characterized by error : mistaken erroneous assumptions gave an erroneous impression

2 archaic : wandering

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Other Words from erroneous

erroneously adverb
erroneousness noun

How to Define Erroneous

Erroneous basically means "containing errors", and, since most of us are constantly suffering from mistaken notions, the word is often used in front of words such as "assumption" and "idea". It's also used to describe the kind of mistaken information that can lead to erroneous theories, erroneous conclusions, and erroneous decisions.

Examples of erroneous in a Sentence

When you're done, the programs scour your return for potential problems and erroneous data and let you correct them. Then, poof! Either print out your 1040 and related documents or follow the software prompts to file electronically. — Kathy Yakal, PC Magazine, 9 Mar. 1999 Here we come face-to-face with the uncompromising rules of golf as Mr. Dobereiner recounts how Roberto de Vincenzo lost the 1968 Masters Tournament by a single stroke because he signed an erroneous scorecard. — Robert R. Harris, New York Times Book Review, 21 Oct. 1984 To say truth, nothing is more erroneous than the common observation, that men who are ill-natured and quarrelsome when they are drunk, are very worthy persons when they are sober: for drink, in reality, doth not reverse nature, or create passions in men which did not exist in them before. — Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, 1749 a news article about the new virus that was filled with much erroneous information
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Recent Examples on the Web

Trump's comment, however erroneous, provided a window into the tricky politics for Senate Democrats around the legislation. Erica Werner,, "House-Senate standoff imperils effort to roll back post-financial crisis banking rules," 10 Apr. 2018 The erroneous warning was sent during a shift change at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency when someone doing a routine test hit the live alert button, state officials said. Brian Melley, The Seattle Times, "Missile-alert error reveals uncertainty about how to react," 15 Jan. 2018 Their method depends on the assumption — almost certainly erroneous — that workplace experiences don’t change over time, and that the way 21st-century workers feel about a particular kind of job is how their 20th-century predecessors felt. Evan Horowitz,, "Work is getting better, especially for women," 14 July 2018 The case was prompted by a wildly erroneous newspaper article. The Economist, "Pakistan’s former prime minister embraces jail to rally his party," 12 July 2018 Last year during Barrett’s confirmation for the appellate seat, 17 women’s rights groups pointed out in a letter to the Senate that a 2003 article by Barrett appeared to say Roe was an erroneous decision. James Freeman, WSJ, "Amy Coney Barrett and the Left’s Loudest Dogma," 9 July 2018 Last year during Barrett’s confirmation for the appellate seat, 17 women’s rights groups pointed out in a letter to the Senate that a 2003 article by Barrett appeared to say Roe was an erroneous decision. David G. Savage,, "Amy Coney Barrett is the favorite of social conservatives, but Democrats are already taking aim," 9 July 2018 So there are potentially millions of people who got potentially erroneous blood test results from Theranos? Julia Belluz, Vox, "How Silicon Valley got played by Theranos," 15 June 2018 The growing network of cameras is now close to its record height of fines issued before the city’s previous system was shut down in 2013 for issuing erroneous tickets. Luke Broadwater,, "Baltimore speed cameras generate $4 million in excess revenue, which will go toward fire department," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'erroneous.' 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 erroneous

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for erroneous

Middle English, from Latin erroneus, from erron-, erro wanderer, from errare — see err

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Learn More about erroneous

Dictionary Entries near erroneous



Er Rif


err on the side of


error bar

Phrases Related to erroneous

in the mistaken/erroneous belief that

Statistics for erroneous

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for erroneous

The first known use of erroneous was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for erroneous



English Language Learners Definition of erroneous

: not correct


er·ro·ne·ous | \i-ˈrō-nē-əs \

Kids Definition of erroneous


er·ro·ne·ous | \i-ˈrō-nē-əs, e- \

Legal Definition of erroneous 

: containing or characterized by error — see also clearly erroneous

Other Words from erroneous

erroneously adverb
erroneousness noun

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Comments on erroneous

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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