Definition of errant in English:



  • 1formal, humorous Erring or straying from the accepted course or standards.

    ‘an errant husband coming back from a night on the tiles’
    • ‘Unless we punish errant husbands, this abuse will continue.’
    • ‘One day, while cutting wood Jerry Sr. lopped off a finger from his right hand with an errant axe blow.’
    • ‘Not only did Monica fear for her family, she also had little privacy, because golfers often would hop their short backyard fence to search for errant shots.’
    • ‘We never know what Miss Trotwood's married name was, nor her errant husband's Christian name.’
    • ‘The issue is that while we are willing to accept the errant ways of noted figures, are we similarly willing to accept the errant ways of those not notable?’
    • ‘Mai, a forty-year-old school teacher, strives to make a normal life for herself and her children, despite her trauma at having to cope with an errant husband and interfering extended family.’
    • ‘As with John Hartson's dismissal in the Scottish Cup tie between these two sides last Monday, an errant Celtic player was guilty of rank stupidity.’
    • ‘Of course, this errant stupidity helped force Zapatero's hand and have him bring the troops home.’
    • ‘This is funny because of the errant values Bob has accumulated over the course of his miserable life, and because of the extreme situation to which it is applied.’
    • ‘It's not too difficult to imagine an errant chainsaw blade hitting precisely the right spot with precisely the right angle with which to sever.’
    • ‘To check whether an errant husband is spending whole nights with his mistress in another house, the detectives need to perform long-term surveillance from an inconspicuous location.’
    • ‘Today most women in her position would show their errant husband the door and not many, if any, would agree to bring up the child her husband fathered to the local barmaid.’
    • ‘His mother, it transpired, had not approved of her husband's errant cousin either.’
    • ‘It could be caused by an errant husband lost to alcoholism, not unfamiliar given the fact that Goan liquor, distilled from coconut palm and from the cashew fruit, and called feni, is both potent and cheap.’
    • ‘In due course the errant professor is brought to his knees by a cabal of the politically correct together with other members of the faculty who hate him for more directly personal reasons.’
    • ‘That explains, in part, his decision last week to pardon the errant scientist.’
    • ‘Lesser women would have cut their errant husband adrift.’
    • ‘I remember when Lady Moon famously distributed her errant husband's expensive wine collection to the neighbours.’
    • ‘Watching in a Glasgow dump is her errant husband Jimmy, who heads to Nottingham, cash in hand from his latest theft, to try to rekindle the past.’
    • ‘Shortly after that, the errant husband saw reason and Fathima was happily re-united with her husband and three children.’
    offending, guilty, culpable, misbehaving, delinquent, lawless, lawbreaking, criminal, transgressing, aberrant, deviant, erring, sinning
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    1. 1.1Not in the right place; having moved from the correct position or course.
      ‘an errant strand of hair’
      ‘fear of being hit by an errant bullet’
      • ‘An errant missile killed Iraqi civilians in January.’
      • ‘Within 28 seconds of stepping onto the Garden court, he soars, to grab a teammate's errant shot - his first Villanova rebound.’
      • ‘Roy Williamson chased his errant tee shot into a hazard.’
      • ‘Layton was so excited his errant arm knocked the microphone from its stand.’
      • ‘Most commentators agree that Ghana could have scored six or eight goals against the Czechs, had our strikers been less errant.’
      • ‘No quibbling over errant free throws or selfish shot selection.’
      • ‘In three years with the team, Bartrum never has had an errant snap on a punt or kick.’
      • ‘Your mind may be drawing bull's-eyes around an errant arrow.’
      • ‘Julia smoothed an errant bronze curl off Mara's forehead.’
      • ‘On certain holes, errant drives end up in dark hollows of trees well below the fairways.’
      • ‘The smoother the laydown, the less bounce - and the less risk you run of throwing an errant shot.’
      • ‘Somehow my flailing managed to get the errant slide to slam shut.’
      • ‘A few of them saw the routine grounders Jeter kicked, and the wildly errant missiles he threw, all over the South Atlantic League.’
      • ‘Errant shots from the outskirts invariably result in long rebounds that give the Nets ' running game a considerable head start.’
      • ‘Steve Nash spent part of a timeout checking on a boy who had been hit on a face with an errant pass.’
      • ‘The conclusion there seems to be that both a tenth planet and an errant star are unlikely to exist.’
      • ‘Autio sued both the golf course and the golfer that hit the errant shot.’
      • ‘Last week they paid the price for such errant finishing.’
      • ‘He dodged back and forth to move the last few errant lambs into the cave, then stood before them his hands on his hips.’
      • ‘He fields balls to his left particularly well, and he rarely makes an errant throw.’
  • 2literary, archaic [often postpositive] Travelling in search of adventure.

    ‘that same lady errant’
    See also knight errant
    • ‘No search parties are sent out for the errant travellers.’
    • ‘Also, the child's errant behaviour is largely a result of the parents' failure to prepare said child to behave respectfully in a learning environment.’
    • ‘The guardian thinks she's supposed to be cool and calm, indifferent and impartial, a door to keep out errant knights and travellers, but she's still steamed about being stuck down here.’
    • ‘They were the only ones who saw daylight unhampered by collar and chain, let out to gather even more gullible strays and errant pets into a pack to be corralled, sacked, and dumped into the kennel.’
    • ‘Thus it was that five minutes later he was wandering down the hall in search of his errant best friend.’
    • ‘Still, he managed to get a sat-phone call to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, informing them of three errant Americans.’
    travelling, wandering, itinerant, journeying, rambling, roaming, roving, drifting, floating, wayfaring, voyaging, touring
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  • 3Zoology
    (of a polychaete worm) of a predatory kind that moves about actively and is not confined to a tube or burrow.

    • ‘This red errant polychaete was about 7 or 8 cm long.’
    • ‘It’s a reproductive form of an errant polychaete worm.’


Middle English (in errant): errant from Latin errant- erring, from the verb errare; errant from Old French errant travelling, present participle of errer, from late Latin iterare go on a journey, from iter journey. Compare with arrant.