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[ur-ing, er-] /ˈɜr ɪŋ, ˈɛr-/
going astray; in error; wrong.
Origin of erring
1300-50; Middle English; replacing Middle English errand. See err, -ing2
Related forms
erringly, adverb


[ur, er] /ɜr, ɛr/
verb (used without object)
to go astray in thought or belief; be mistaken; be incorrect.
to go astray morally; sin:
To err is human.
Archaic. to deviate from the true course, aim, or purpose.
1275-1325; Middle English erren < Old French errer < Latin errāre; akin to Gothic airzjan, Old High German irrôn, German irren
Related forms
errability, noun
errable, adjective
Can be confused
air, e'er, ere, err, heir.
er, err, Ur.
2. transgress, lapse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for erring
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was ashamed to be there—ashamed to meet the desolate and, as he believed, erring sister.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • May he not be worthier, at all events, than this soured temper and erring heart?

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • All his affection for his erring brother was uppermost, all his sympathy and pity.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • From this I quote the following, which is by no means the most erring and most poisonous of their shafts.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • Man contemplating the heavens is to regulate his erring life according to them.

    Timaeus Plato
  • And you are also aware that the erring act which is done without knowledge is done in ignorance.

    Protagoras Plato
  • They were erring men whom suffering had made blind to right and wrong.

    Lord Jim Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for erring


verb (intransitive)
to make a mistake; be incorrect
to stray from the right course or accepted standards; sin
to act with bias, esp favourable bias: to err on the side of justice
Word Origin
C14: erren to wander, stray, from Old French errer, from Latin errāre
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 erring



c.1300, from Old French errer "go astray, lose one's way; make a mistake; transgress," from Latin errare "wander, go astray, be in error," from PIE root *ers- "be in motion, wander around" (cf. Sanskrit arsati "flows;" Old English ierre "angry, straying;" Old Frisian ire "angry;" Old High German irri "angry," irron "astray;" Gothic airziþa "error, deception;" the Germanic words reflecting the notion of anger as a "straying" from normal composure). Related: Erred; erring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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