erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ i-ˈra-tik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Definition of erratic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having no fixed course : wandering an erratic comet
2a : characterized by lack of consistency, regularity, or uniformity erratic dieting keeps erratic hours
b : deviating from what is ordinary or standard : eccentric an erratic genius
3 : transported from an original resting place especially by a glacier an erratic boulder
4 archaic : nomadic

erratic

noun

Definition of erratic (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is erratic (see erratic entry 1) especially : a boulder or block of rock transported from its original resting place especially by a glacier

Other Words from erratic

Adjective

erratical \ i-​ˈra-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce erratic (audio) \ adjective
erratically \ i-​ˈra-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce erratic (audio) \ adverb
erraticism \ i-​ˈra-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce erratic (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for erratic

Adjective

strange, singular, unique, peculiar, eccentric, erratic, odd, quaint, outlandish mean departing from what is ordinary, usual, or to be expected. strange stresses unfamiliarity and may apply to the foreign, the unnatural, the unaccountable. a journey filled with strange sights singular suggests individuality or puzzling strangeness. a singular feeling of impending disaster unique implies singularity and the fact of being without a known parallel. a career unique in the annals of science peculiar implies a marked distinctiveness. the peculiar status of America's First Lady eccentric suggests a wide divergence from the usual or normal especially in behavior. the eccentric eating habits of preschoolers erratic stresses a capricious and unpredictable wandering or deviating. a friend's suddenly erratic behavior odd applies to a departure from the regular or expected. an odd sense of humor quaint suggests an old-fashioned but pleasant oddness. a quaint fishing village outlandish applies to what is uncouth, bizarre, or barbaric. outlandish fashions of the time

Did you know?

Erratic can refer to literal "wandering". A missile that loses its guidance system may follow an erratic path, and a river with lots of twists and bends is said to have an erratic course. Erratic can also mean "inconsistent" or "irregular". So a stock market that often changes direction is said to be acting erratically; an erratic heartbeat can be cause for concern; and if your car idles erratically it may mean that something's wrong with the spark-plug wiring.

Examples of erratic in a Sentence

Adjective My sinker has been my most erratic pitch. And when your foundation pitch is lacking, you have to go to other pitches. My sinker has been in and out, but mostly out. — Orel Hershiser, in New York Times, 9 May 1999 In winning his two-month match in Yugoslavia against Boris Spassky, 10 games to five, Bobby Fischer was erratic, which was hardly surprising considering his two-decade layoff, but there were times when he played more brilliantly than anybody could have expected. Sports Illustrated, 16 Nov. 1992 Over the centuries, in erratic ways, men have constructed a world in which they are relatively free of many kinds of threatening or harmful stimuli … — B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, (1971) 1972 so far your effort to land a summer job has been very erratic because of your erratic attendance at practice, you're in danger of being cut from the team
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This position has times of high productivity coupled with extensive downtime between projects, creating an erratic workload. Marc Blythe, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 Alas, increasing the resolution to 1080p resulted in an erratic frame rate that too often dropped into the 20s. Wired, 9 Aug. 2022 This understanding makes Valeria’s progressively erratic behavior feel more pressing, upping the stakes of an already disquieting story. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Aug. 2022 The monsoon’s erratic progress in India this year may threaten that stability. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 4 Aug. 2022 While erratic menstrual bleeding can be upsetting, uncomfortable or painful, and even unsafe for some people, the vaccines themselves remain vital as the highly infectious BA.5 subvariant spreads rapidly throughout the United States. Hannah Smothers, SELF, 1 Aug. 2022 Finally, bold Mercury squares eccentric Uranus, creating an erratic atmosphere that must be navigated with patience. Chicago Tribune, 27 July 2022 Beset by an erratic three-point shot, Gabriela didn’t hold any scholarship offers after her sophomore season at Camarillo despite averaging more than 20 points. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 And people who experienced other side effects of the vaccines, like a fever or fatigue, also had a higher chance of experiencing erratic periods. Knvul Sheikh, BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Speidel was inspired to create these artworks from her fascination with glacial erratics, a type of rock that once was carried inside glacial ice and traveled hundreds of miles sometimes across thousands of years to its current resting spot. Nickole Kerner Bobley, Houston Chronicle, 25 Apr. 2020 One of the biggest boulders is now enshrined at the Erratic Rock State Natural Site in McMinnville, a small state park that aims to educate visitors about these odd erratics. Jamie Hale, OregonLive.com, 6 June 2017 Erratics are also found in the Columbia River Gorge. Jamie Hale, OregonLive.com, 6 June 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of erratic

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for erratic

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Latin erraticus, from erratus, past participle of errare — see err

Learn More About erratic

Time Traveler for erratic

Time Traveler

The first known use of erratic was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near erratic

errata

erratic

erratum

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Statistics for erratic

Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Erratic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erratic. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for erratic

erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ i-ˈra-tik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Kids Definition of erratic

: not consistent or regular erratic behavior erratic movements

erratic

adjective
er·​rat·​ic | \ ir-ˈat-ik How to pronounce erratic (audio) \

Medical Definition of erratic

1 : characterized by lack of consistency, regularity, or uniformity an erratic pulse
2 : deviating from what is ordinary or standard

More from Merriam-Webster on erratic

Nglish: Translation of erratic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of erratic for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about erratic

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