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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
  • He's erring on the side of caution, but the thigh's not too bad.
  • It was delicious because the tang of the lemon kept it from erring on the side of sugar.
  • Political considerations argue for favoring the short run and erring on the side of stimulus.
  • We use it every day on erring celebrities and cheating politicians.
  • The method of not erring is sought by all the world.
  • Given the choice, erring on the side of inflation would be less catastrophic than erring on the side of deflation.
  • Yet there is something to be said for erring on the side of caution when setting initial offer prices.
  • But in practice, erring peacekeepers are rarely punished.
  • The emphasis of this approach is communication and giving the erring employee a chance to improve.
  • erring on the side of extra insulation may require several extra feet of insulation.
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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