error

noun
er·​ror | \ ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio) , ˈe-rər \

Definition of error

1a : 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
2a : 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
4a : 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

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Other Words from error

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The process, protected by a patent, leaves no room for error. Carol Besler, Robb Report, "Sweet Watch! Bovet Is Literally Sugar Coating the Dials of Its Latest Timepieces," 12 May 2021 At these valuations, the company has very little room for error and needs to execute to perfection to justify its stock price. Trefis Team, Forbes, "Snowflake Stock Looks Compelling After Falling 50% From Highs," 12 May 2021 There is absolutely no margin for error for these three teams. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona Cardinals' schedule ranked among hardest in 2021 NFL strength of schedule rankings," 11 May 2021 But special elections take time to organize; delays could further shrink Democrats’ single-digit margin for error. New York Times, "‘We May Not Have a Full Two Years’: Democrats’ Plans Hinge on Good Health," 10 May 2021 After having received their Covid-19 vaccinations, those in the crowd are at a lesser risk than anyone to get infected, but Global Citizen still had zero margin for error. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, "Vax Live: Inside the First Full-Scale, Covid-Compliant Concert in the United States," 7 May 2021 The margin for error is slim when facing quality teams and the Celtics’ occasional slippage cost them an important game, not a couple of controversial calls. BostonGlobe.com, "The pressure’s on: The Celtics are going to need to be better," 3 May 2021 The Democrats, of course, have a thin House majority and no room for error. Harry Enten, CNN, "How the economy is turning into a strength for Biden," 1 May 2021 Oregon has little margin for error, being the state with the fewest hospital beds per capita. Richard Read Seattle Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 surges in Oregon, sickening younger adults and forcing a return to restrictions," 30 Apr. 2021

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

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

History and Etymology for error

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

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Time Traveler for error

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for error

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Error.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/error. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for error

error

noun

English Language Learners Definition of error

: something that is not correct : a wrong action or statement
: a mistake made by a person who is playing a sport (such as baseball or tennis)

error

noun
er·​ror | \ ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio) \

Kids Definition of error

: a failure to be correct or accurate : mistake He made an error in spelling.

Choose the Right Synonym for error

error, mistake, and blunder mean an act or statement that is not right or true or proper. error is used for failure to follow a model correctly. There was an error in the addition. mistake is used when someone misunderstands something or does not intend to do wrong. I took someone else's coat by mistake. blunder is used for a stupid, careless, or thoughtless mistake. The actors made several blunders during the play.

error

noun
er·​ror | \ ˈer-ər How to pronounce error (audio) \

Medical Definition of error

: a deficiency or imperfection in structure or function inborn errors of metabolism

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error

noun
er·​ror

Legal Definition of error

: 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

Comments on error

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