er·​ro·​ne·​ous i-ˈrō-nē-əs How to pronounce erroneous (audio)
: containing or characterized by error : mistaken
erroneous assumptions
gave an erroneous impression
archaic : wandering
erroneously adverb
erroneousness noun

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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.

Example Sentences

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 poorly researched news article about the new virus that was filled with much erroneous information
Recent Examples on the Web Search works best when users trust the information presented, and results with erroneous information ruin the experience. IEEE Spectrum, 21 Feb. 2023 Fueling such yearnings with exaggerated — or simply erroneous — claims of possible benefits also increases the likelihood of inappropriate or dangerous use. Thomas J. Moore And G. Caleb Alexander, STAT, 26 Jan. 2023 Defense attorneys contended the three didn’t chase and kill Arbery because of his race but acted on the earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood. Russ Bynum, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Feb. 2022 Defense attorneys contended the three didn’t chase and kill Mr. Arbery because of his race but acted on the earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Mr. Arbery had committed crimes in their neighborhood. Russ Bynum, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Feb. 2022 Defense attorneys have insisted the deadly pursuit of Arbery was motivated by an earnest, though erroneous, suspicion that Arbery had committed crimes. CBS News, 16 Feb. 2022 Those stories were widely covered and mentioned on social media, yet ChatGPT missed them, while picking up on insignificant or erroneous information. cleveland, 4 Feb. 2023 The systems aren’t always very good and sometimes make decisions that are obviously erroneous or discriminatory. WIRED, 6 Jan. 2023 The first doctor to promote circumcision, Jonathan Hutchinson, conducted an erroneous but nonetheless influential study in 1855. Tim Brinkhof, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near erroneous

Cite this Entry

“Erroneous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


er·​ro·​ne·​ous ir-ˈō-nē-əs How to pronounce erroneous (audio)
: being wrong or inaccurate
especially : being or containing an error
an erroneous report
erroneously adverb
erroneousness noun

Legal Definition


er·​ro·​ne·​ous i-ˈrō-nē-əs, e- How to pronounce erroneous (audio)
: containing or characterized by error see also clearly erroneous
erroneously adverb
erroneousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on erroneous

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