error

noun

er·​ror ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio)
ˈe-rər
1
a
: an act or condition of ignorant or imprudent deviation from a code of behavior
b
: an act involving an unintentional deviation from truth or accuracy
made an error in adding up the bill
c
: an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done
an error in judgment
: such as
(1)
: a defensive misplay other than a wild pitch or passed ball made by a baseball player when normal play would have resulted in an out or prevented an advance by a base runner
(2)
: the failure of a player (as in tennis) to make a successful return of a ball during play
d
: a mistake in the proceedings of a court of record in matters of law or of fact
2
a
: the quality or state of erring
the map is in error
b
Christian Science : illusion about the nature of reality that is the cause of human suffering : the contradiction of truth
c
: an instance of false belief
3
: something produced by mistake
a typographical error
especially : a postage stamp exhibiting a consistent flaw (such as a wrong color) in its manufacture
4
a
: the difference between an observed or calculated value and a true value
specifically : variation in measurements, calculations, or observations of a quantity due to mistakes or to uncontrollable factors
b
: the amount of deviation from a standard or specification
5
: a deficiency or imperfection in structure or function
an error of metabolism
errorless
ˈer-ər-ləs How to pronounce error (audio)
ˈe-rər-
adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for error

error, mistake, blunder, slip, lapse mean a departure from what is true, right, or proper.

error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this.

procedural errors

mistake implies misconception or inadvertence and usually expresses less criticism than error.

dialed the wrong number by mistake

blunder regularly imputes stupidity or ignorance as a cause and connotes some degree of blame.

diplomatic blunders

slip stresses inadvertence or accident and applies especially to trivial but embarrassing mistakes.

a slip of the tongue

lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause.

a lapse in judgment

Examples of error in a Sentence

I made an error in my calculations. They uncovered several errors in his report to the committee. The paper contains numerous spelling errors. horrifying cases of hospital error The shortstop was charged with an error.
Recent Examples on the Web Such was the case in Friday’s 10-inning loss to the Sox, as the Yankees made two errors in the field while Anthony Volpe and DJ LeMahieu lacked hustle and fundamentals on the basepaths. Gary Phillips, New York Daily News, 8 July 2024 The margin of error given for the results is 3.4% in both directions. Billy Perrigo, TIME, 8 July 2024 In April, Spilsbury filed an election challenge against her opponent, Whetstone, demanding the courts to weigh in on a clerical error and questioned her home address as a qualification for her candidacy. Maritza Dominguez, The Arizona Republic, 8 July 2024 Brewer got just two outs and allowed three runs, one earned, while giving up two hits and two walks, as well as committing a throwing error and hitting a batter. Des Bieler, Washington Post, 7 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for error 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'error.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English errour, from Anglo-French, from Latin error, from errare

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of error was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near error

Cite this Entry

“Error.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/error. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

error

noun
er·​ror ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio)
1
a
: departure from a code of behavior
the error of their ways
b
: an unintentional departure from truth, accuracy, or a goal
made an error in my adding
c
: a misplay made by a fielder in baseball
2
: the quality or state of erring
3
: a false belief or a set of false beliefs
4
: something produced by mistake
5
: the difference between an observed or calculated value and a true value
especially : variation in measurements, calculations, or observations of a quantity as a result of mistakes or uncontrollable conditions
6
: the amount of error
errorless adjective

Medical Definition

error

noun
er·​ror ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio)
: a deficiency or imperfection in structure or function
inborn errors of metabolism

Legal Definition

error

noun
er·​ror
: an act that through ignorance, deficiency, or accident departs from or fails to achieve what should be done
procedural errors
especially : a mistake made by a lower court in conducting judicial proceedings or making findings in a case
to compel to conclusion that a manifest error has been done Moses v. Burgin, 445 F.2d 369 (1971)
often used without an article
had been error to give the jury special interrogatories K. A. Cohen
; see also assignment of error, clearly erroneous

Note: Generally a party must object to an error at trial in order to raise it as an issue on appeal.

clear error
: an error made by a judge in his or her findings of fact which is such that it leaves the reviewing court with the firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made

Note: A clear error may or may not warrant reversal.

fundamental error
: plain error in this entry used especially in criminal cases
harmless error
: an error that does not affect a substantial right or change the outcome of a trial and does not warrant reversal or other modification of the lower court's decision on appeal
invited error
: an error resulting from a party's own request for or encouragement of an action by the court

Note: A party may not seek relief based on invited error that he or she has induced.

manifest error
: an error that is obvious and indisputable and that warrants reversal on appeal
plain error
: an obvious and prejudicial error that affects the substantial rights of the parties and that results or probably results in a miscarriage of justice

Note: Plain error warrants reversal on appeal even in the absence of objection to the error at trial.

prejudicial error
: an error that affects or presumptively affects the outcome of a trial
reversible error
: a substantial and prejudicial error warranting reversal on appeal

More from Merriam-Webster on error

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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