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Webster 1913 Edition


Errant

Er′rant

,
Adj.
[F.
errant
, p. pr. fr. OF.
errer
to travel, LL.
iterare
, fr. L.
iter
journey; confused somewhat with L.
errare
to err. See
Eyre
, and cf.
Arrant
,
Itinerant
.]
1.
Wandering; deviating from an appointed course, or from a direct path; roving.
Seven planets or
errant
stars in the lower orbs of heaven.
Sir T. Browne.
2.
Notorious; notoriously bad; downright; arrant.
Would make me an
errant
fool.
B. Jonson.
3.
(Eng. Law)
Journeying; itinerant; – formerly applied to judges who went on circuit and to bailiffs at large.
Mozley & W.

Er′rant

,
Noun.
One who wanders about.
[Obs.]
Fuller.

Webster 1828 Edition


Errant

ER'RANT

,
Adj.
[L. errans,from erro, to err.]
1.
Wandering; roving; rambling; applied particularly to knights, who, in the middle ages, wandered about to seek adventures and display their heroism and generosity, called knights errant.
2.
Deviating from a certain course.
3.
Itinerant.
Errant, for arrant, a false orthography. [See Arrant.]

Definition 2021


errant

errant

English

Alternative forms

Adjective

errant (comparative more errant, superlative most errant)

  1. Straying from the proper course or standard, or outside established limits.
    • Sir Thomas Browne
      seven planets or errant stars in the lower orbs of heaven
  2. Prone to making errors.
  3. (proscribed) Utter, complete (negative); arrant.
    • Ben Jonson
      would make me an errant fool

Usage notes

Sometimes arrant (utter, complete) is considered simply an alternative spelling and pronunciation of errant, though most authorities distinguish them, reserving errant to mean “wandering” and using it after the noun it modifies, notably in “knight errant”, while using arrant to mean “utter”, in a negative sense, and before the noun it modifies, notably in “arrant knaves”.

Etymologically, arrant arose as a variant of errant, but the meanings have long since diverged. Both terms are primarily used in set phrases (which may be considered cliché), and are easily confused, and on that basis some authorities suggest against using either.

Synonyms

  • (utter, complete): arrant (generally distinguished; see usage)

Derived terms

Translations

References

Anagrams


French

Etymology

From Old French errant, from Latin errāns, errāntem.

Verb

errant

  1. present participle of errer

Adjective

errant m (feminine singular errante, masculine plural errants, feminine plural errantes)

  1. wandering
  2. errant (clarification of this French definition is being sought)

Anagrams


Latin

Verb

errant

  1. third-person plural present active indicative of errō

Old French

Etymology

Present participle of errer (to wander), from Latin iterō (I travel; I voyage) rather than from errō, which is the ancestor of the other etymology of error (to err; to make an error).

Adjective

errant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular errant or errante)

  1. wandering; nomadic
    • The Anglo-Norman ‘Alexander’ (‘Le Roman de Toute Chevalerie’) by Thomas of Kent, ed. B. Foster, with the assistance of I. Short, ANTS 29-31 (1976), and 32-33 (1977). Available online at anglo-norman.net.
      si est un pople qe n’est mie erranz; Ja n'istra de son regne
      If it's a people that is not nomadic, it will never leave his kingdom

Descendants