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[ur-ing, er-] /ˈɜr ɪŋ, ˈɛr-/
going astray; in error; wrong.
Origin of erring
1300-50; Middle English; replacing Middle English errand. See err, -ing2
Related forms
erringly, adverb


[ur, er] /ɜr, ɛr/
verb (used without object)
to go astray in thought or belief; be mistaken; be incorrect.
to go astray morally; sin:
To err is human.
Archaic. to deviate from the true course, aim, or purpose.
1275-1325; Middle English erren < Old French errer < Latin errāre; akin to Gothic airzjan, Old High German irrôn, German irren
Related forms
errability, noun
errable, adjective
Can be confused
air, e'er, ere, err, heir.
er, err, Ur.
2. transgress, lapse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for erring
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her chief feeling was one of sympathy for her erring, penitent boy.

    The Dreamer Mary Newton Stanard
  • He was ashamed to be there—ashamed to meet the desolate and, as he believed, erring sister.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • And still, in the bottom of his heart, his erring son continued to appeal to him.

    Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser
  • May he not be worthier, at all events, than this soured temper and erring heart?

    Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • What passed between her and Mr. Pike I do not know; but whatever it was, she was convinced that he was not the erring one.

  • From this I quote the following, which is by no means the most erring and most poisonous of their shafts.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • The traveler who enters or passes that way sees no mark of his erring brethren, no sign to tell the traveler he may be shot!

    Broke Edwin A. Brown
British Dictionary definitions for erring


verb (intransitive)
to make a mistake; be incorrect
to stray from the right course or accepted standards; sin
to act with bias, esp favourable bias: to err on the side of justice
Word Origin
C14: erren to wander, stray, from Old French errer, from Latin errāre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for erring



c.1300, from Old French errer "go astray, lose one's way; make a mistake; transgress," from Latin errare "wander, go astray, be in error," from PIE root *ers- "be in motion, wander around" (cf. Sanskrit arsati "flows;" Old English ierre "angry, straying;" Old Frisian ire "angry;" Old High German irri "angry," irron "astray;" Gothic airziþa "error, deception;" the Germanic words reflecting the notion of anger as a "straying" from normal composure). Related: Erred; erring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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