- a short and quick trip to accomplish a specific purpose, as to buy something, deliver a package, or convey a message, often for someone else.
- the purpose of such a trip: He finished his errands.
- a special mission or function entrusted to a messenger; commission.
Origin of errand
Synonyms for errandSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for errand
Contemporary Examples of errand
He demonstrated that he had the makings of a future Marine after his mother sent him on a last minute errand to a nearby deli.Why Was My Son Killed in Fallujah—and His Murderer Set Free?
January 12, 2014
At the start of the game he is been sent to the fantastic city of Columbia on an errand: to find a girl and have his debt cleaned.Nerdiness from Noah: BioShock Infinite
April 13, 2013
It's a fool's errand when the general electorate is trending in favor of more government.Wake Up and Smell Reality, Republicans
February 14, 2013
It is, increasingly, the received wisdom in the West that nation building is a fool's errand.Beinart Has Me Wrong
December 19, 2012
Despite the obstacles, however, Ephron excelled, moving from errand girl to bona fide writer at the New York Post and Esquire.Nora Ephron on Her Life, Loves, and Disappointments
November 6, 2010
Historical Examples of errand
Mr. Paine looked up as he entered, and had no difficulty in guessing his errand.Brave and Bold
It was on this errand that she first visited Boston—we believe in the winter of 1858-59.Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
They offered him no violence, and he performed his errand safely.Cameos from English History, from Rollo to Edward II
Charlotte Mary Yonge
Nay, they are neither; but, nevertheless, their errand is a nefarious one.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
This relieved her, and she was able to give an account of her errand on the field of battle.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
- a short trip undertaken to perform a necessary task or commission (esp in the phrase run errands)
- the purpose or object of such a trip
Word Origin for errand
Old English ærende "message, mission; answer, news, tidings," from Proto-Germanic *ærundjam (cf. Old Saxon arundi, Old Norse erendi, Danish ærende, Swedish ärende, Old Frisian erende, Old High German arunti "message"). Originally of important missions; meaning "short, simple journey and task" is attested by 1640s. Related: Errands.
see fool's errand; run an errand.