[ur-ing, er-]


going astray; in error; wrong.

Origin of erring

1300–50; Middle English; replacing Middle English errand. See err, -ing2
Related formserr·ing·ly, adverb


[ur, er]

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.

Origin of err

1275–1325; Middle English erren < Old French errer < Latin errāre; akin to Gothic airzjan, Old High German irrôn, German irren
Related formserr·a·bil·i·ty, nounerr·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedair e'er ere err heirer err Ur

Synonyms for err Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for erring

Contemporary Examples of erring

Historical Examples of erring

  • 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?

  • 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.



British Dictionary definitions for erring


verb (intr)

to make a mistake; be incorrect
to stray from the right course or accepted standards; sin
to act with bias, esp favourable biasto err on the side of justice

Word Origin for err

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

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