From Middle English erraunt [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman erraunt, from Old French errant, the present participle of errer (“to walk (to); to wander (to); (figuratively) to travel, voyage”), and then:
- from Vulgar Latin iterāre (compare Late Latin itinerāre, itinerāri (“to travel, voyage”)), from Latin iter (“a route (including a journey, trip; a course; a path; a road)”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ey- (“to go”); and
- from Latin errantem, the accusative feminine or masculine singular of errāns (“straying, errant; wandering”), the present active participle of errō (“to rove, wander; to get lost, go astray; to err, wander from the truth”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ers- (“to flow”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɛɹ(ə)nt/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɛɹənt/
- Homophone: arrant (in accents with the Mary–marry–merry merger)
- Hyphenation: er‧rant
- Straying from the proper course or standard, or outside established limits.
- 1650, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica: […], 2nd edition, London: […] A[braham] Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, […], OCLC 152706203, 6th book, page 244:
- In that there are just seven Planets or errant Stars in the lower Orbs of heaven: but it is now demonstrable unto sense, that there are many more
- 1941 October, “Notes and News: A Highland Runaway”, in Railway Magazine, page 469:
- They were all doomed to be disappointed, however, for the errant engine decided at Stanley junction to spend the remainder of its crowded hour of freedom on the Aberdeen line, and finally came to rest, short of breath, in the dip between Ballathie and Cargill, near the bridge over the Tay.
- Roving around; wandering.
- Prone to making errors; misbehaving.
- We ran down the street in pursuit of the errant dog.
- (chiefly with a negative connotation, obsolete) Obsolete form of .
Although arrant is a variant of errant, their modern meanings have diverged. Arrant is used in the sense “complete; downright; utter” (for example, “arrant knaves”), while errant means “roving around; wandering” and is often used after the noun it modifies (for example, “knight errant”). The use of errant to mean “complete; downright; utter”, and arrant to mean “roving around; wandering”, is obsolete.
errant (plural errants)
- “errant, arrant”, in Merriam–Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1994, →ISBN, pages 406–407.
- William Safire (22 January 2006), “On Language: Arrant Nonsense”, in The New York Times Magazine, New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, ISSN 0028-7822, OCLC 762261046, archived from the original on 8 September 2021.
- Paul Brians (2009), “arrant/errant”, in Common Errors in English Usage, 2nd edition, Wilsonville, Or.: William, James & Company, →ISBN.
- “errant”, in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
errant (masculine and feminine plural errants)
errant m (plural errants)
See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.
- present participle of errar
- “errant”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
errant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular errant or errante)
- wandering; nomadic
- 12th century CE, Thomas de Kent, Roman de toute chevalerie [Roman of all chivalry], translation of Alexander romance; republished as B. Foster, with the assistance of I. Short, editor, The Anglo-Norman 'Alexander', London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1976, ANTS 29-31 (1976), and 32-33 (1977):
- 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