- An example of errant used as an adjective is the phrase "errant traveler," which means a traveler who doesn't follow maps or guidebooks and who just goes where the road takes him.
- An example of errant used as an adjective is the phrase "errant students," which means students who never hand in their homework.
- roving or wandering, esp. in search of adventure; itinerant: a knight-errant
Origin of errantOFr, prp. of errer (see err), confused with errer, to rove, travel erring or straying from what is right or the right course
- shifting about: an errant wind
- Obs. arrant
Origin of errantMiddle English erraunt ; from Old French errant, present participle of errer ; from Medieval Latin iterare, to travel ; from Classical Latin iter, a journey: see itinerant
- Roving, especially in search of adventure: knights errant.
- Failing to adhere to guidelines or moral standards: errant youngsters.
- a. Moving from the proper course or established limits: errant lambs.b. Aimless or irregular in motion: an errant afternoon breeze.c. Missing an intended target or recipient: an errant shot.
Origin of errantMiddle English erraunt, from Anglo-Norman, partly from Old French errer, to travel about (from Vulgar Latin *iterare, from Latin iter, journey; see ei- in Indo-European roots) and partly from Old French errer, to err; see err.
(comparative more errant, superlative most errant)
Sometimes arrant (“utter, complete”) is considered simply an alternative spelling of errant, though many authorities distinguish them, reserving errant to mean “wandering” and using it after the noun it modifies, notably is “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 archaic, primarily used in set phrases (which may be considered cliché), and are easily confused, and on that basis some authorities suggest against using either.