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Webster 1913 Edition


Arrant

Ar′rant

,
Adj.
[OE.
erraunt
,
errant
,
errand
, equiv. to E.
errant
wandering, which was first applied to vagabonds, as an
errant rogue
, an
errant thief
, and hence passed gradually into its present and worse sense. See
Errant
.]
Notoriously or preëminently bad; thorough or downright, in a bad sense; shameless; unmitigated;
as, an
arrant
rogue or coward
.
I discover an
arrant
laziness in my soul.
Fuller.
2.
Thorough or downright, in a good sense.
[Obs.]
An
arrant
honest woman.
Burton.

Webster 1828 Edition


Arrant

AR'RANT

,
Adj.
[I know not the origin of this word.]
Notorious, in an ill sense; infamous; mere; vile; as an arrant rogue or coward.

Definition 2022


arrant

arrant

English

Alternative forms

Adjective

arrant (comparative arranter, superlative arrantest)

  1. Utter; complete.
    arrant nonsense! [1708][2]
  2. Alternative spelling of errant

Usage notes

Particularly used in the phrase “arrant knaves”, quoting Hamlet, and “arrant nonsense”.[3]

Some dictionaries consider arrant simply an alternative form of errant, but in usage they have long since split.

The word has long been considered archaic, may be confused with errant, and is used primarily in clichés, on which basis some recommend against using it.

Translations

References

  1. OED
  2. Thomas Bennet, A Brief History of the Joint Use of Recompos'd Set Forms of Prayer...to wich is annexed a Discourse of the Gost of Prayer], p. 187
  3. Safire, 2006, considers “arrant nonsense” to be “wedded words”, a form of a fixed phrase.