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90s Slang You Should Know


[ih-rat-ik] /ɪˈræt ɪk/
deviating from the usual or proper course in conduct or opinion; eccentric; queer:
erratic behavior.
having no certain or definite course; wandering; not fixed:
erratic winds.
Geology. noting or pertaining to a boulder or the like carried by glacial ice and deposited some distance from its place of origin.
(of a lichen) having no attachment to the surface on which it grows.
an erratic or eccentric person.
Geology. an erratic boulder or the like.
Origin of erratic
1325-75; Middle English < Latin errāticus, equivalent to errāt(us) (past participle of errāre to err) + -icus -ic
Related forms
erratically, adverb
erraticism, noun
nonerratic, adjective, noun
nonerratically, adverb
unerratic, adjective
Can be confused
erotic, erratic, exotic.
1. unpredictable, unstable, capricious.
1. consistent, regular, stable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for erratically
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And Brad realized it wouldn't be healthy being shaken around inside an erratically spinning compartment.

    Spillthrough Daniel F. Galouye
  • They found a place where saltpeter was very thinly and erratically distributed.

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • It was too dark, and he was moving too rapidly and erratically, for anyone to take good aim.

    Two Daring Young Patriots W. P. Shervill
  • If He is merciful at all He cannot be merciful only spasmodically, erratically, or temporarily.

  • erratically he waltzed across the floor, to crumple in a heap where Quirl and the girl were sitting.

    In the Orbit of Saturn Roman Frederick Starzl
  • Halvard was propelling them vigorously but erratically forward.

    Wild Oranges Joseph Hergesheimer
  • R19, unable to dive, was forging ahead blindly and erratically upon the surface, an easy prey to the vigilant destroyer.

    A Sub and a Submarine Percy F. Westerman
  • Down plunged the vanquished monoplane, spirally, erratically.

    Billy Barcroft, R.N.A.S. Percy F. Westerman
  • The flat pointed head seems to be in contact with the ground or very near to it as the animal moves about rapidly and erratically.

British Dictionary definitions for erratically


irregular in performance, behaviour, or attitude; inconsistent and unpredictable
having no fixed or regular course; wandering
a piece of rock that differs in composition, shape, etc, from the rock surrounding it, having been transported from its place of origin, esp by glacial action
an erratic person or thing
Derived Forms
erratically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin errāticus, from errāre to wander, 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
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Word Origin and History for erratically



late 14c., "wandering, moving," from Old French erratique (13c.) and directly from Latin erraticus "wandering, straying, roving," from erratum "an error, mistake, fault," past participle of errare "to wander, err" (see err). Sense of "irregular, eccentric" is attested by 1841. The noun is from 1620s, of persons; 1849, of boulders. Related: Erratically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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