pec·​cant | \ ˈpe-kənt How to pronounce peccant (audio) \

Definition of peccant

1 : guilty of a moral offense : sinning
2 : violating a principle or rule : faulty

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Other Words from peccant

peccantly adverb

When Should You Use peccant?

Peccant comes from the Latin verb peccare, which means "to sin," "to commit a fault," or "to stumble," and is related to the better-known English word peccadillo ("a slight offense"). Etymologists have suggested that peccare might be related to Latin ped- or pes, meaning "foot," by way of an unattested adjective, peccus, which may have been used to mean "having an injured foot" or "stumbling." Whether or not a connection truly exists between peccant and peccus, peccant itself involves stumbling of a figurative kind-making errors, for example, or falling into immoral, corrupt, or sinful behavior."

Examples of peccant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And even peccant democracies like Australia’s can change course. The Economist, "Are dictatorships better than democracies at fighting climate change?," 19 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peccant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of peccant

circa 1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for peccant

Latin peccant-, peccans, present participle of peccare to stumble, sin

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The first known use of peccant was circa 1604

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Cite this Entry

“Peccant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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pec·​cant | \ ˈpek-ənt How to pronounce peccant (audio) \

Medical Definition of peccant

: causing disease specific virtues…of drugs, as opposed to the unspecific adjustment of "peccant humours," were recognized in the 16th and 17th centuries— Joseph Needham

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