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See also: Arrant


Alternative forms[edit]


Alteration of errant. Originally meaning wandering, the term came to be an intensifier due to its use as an epithet, e.g. in the phrases arrant thieves and arrant knaves (i.e., “wandering bandits”).[1]



arrant (comparative arranter, superlative arrantest)

  1. Utter; complete (with a negative sense).
    arrant nonsense! [1708][2]
  2. Obsolete form of errant.

Usage notes[edit]

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.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ OED
  2. ^ Thomas Bennet, A Brief History of the Joint Use of Recompos'd Set Forms of 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.