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errant

[er-uh nt]
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adjective
  1. deviating from the regular or proper course; erring; straying.
  2. journeying or traveling, as a medieval knight in quest of adventure; roving adventurously.
  3. moving in an aimless or lightly changing manner: an errant breeze.

Origin of errant

1300–50; Middle English erraunt < Middle French, Old French errant, present participle of errer, edrer to travel < Vulgar Latin *iterāre to journey, for Late Latin itinerārī, derivative of iter, stem itiner- journey (see itinerary); confused with Middle French errant, present participle of errer to err
Related formser·rant·ly, adverbnon·er·rant, adjectivenon·er·rant·ly, adverbun·er·rant, adjectiveun·er·rant·ly, adverb
Can be confusedarrant errant
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for errant

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • "True, sir," said I in perfunctory acknowledgment, but with errant thoughts.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope

  • Usually, I have discovered the errant one—with the help of my guards, of course.

    Millennium

    Everett B. Cole

  • Their figures, unfixed in the abyss, have been shifted like errant sands of Earth.

  • Burns smiled as a king might upon a young knight seeking an errant.

    The Eagle's Heart

    Hamlin Garland

  • Occasionally some flame would come in pursuit of her errant swain.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence


British Dictionary definitions for errant

errant

adjective (often postpositive)
  1. archaic, or literary wandering in search of adventure
  2. erring or straying from the right course or accepted standards
Derived Formserrantly, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Old French: journeying, from Vulgar Latin iterāre (unattested), from Latin iter journey; influenced by Latin errāre to err
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for errant

adj.

mid-14c., "travelling, roving," from Anglo-French erraunt, from two Old French words that were confused even before they reached English: 1. Old French errant, present participle of errer "to travel or wander," from Late Latin iterare, from Latin iter "journey, way," from root of ire "to go" (see ion); 2. Old French errant, past participle of errer (see err). The senses fused in English 14c., but much of the sense of the latter since has gone with arrant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper