err on the side of

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

err on the side of

  1. (idiomatic, transitive) To behave in a manner which favours or which is biassed toward.
    • 1849, James Fenimore Cooper, The Sea Lions, ch. 15:
      Every man would prefer that the woman in whom he feels an interest should err on the side of bigotry rather than on that of what is called liberalism in points of religious belief.
    • 1893, George Gissing, The Odd Women, ch. 13:
      You tend to err on the side of severity.
    • 1890, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four, ch. 6:
      We must not err on the side of overconfidence.
    • 1914, Arthur Quiller-Couch, "On Style" in On the Art of Writing:
      Let us err, then, if we err, on the side of liberty.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, episode 13:
      It did not err on the side of luxury.

Usage notes[edit]