9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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.
Origin of err
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 err
  • Custom computer cases tend to err toward the extreme -- extremes of weirdness, cleverness and neon.
  • To err is human, to persevere in error is the act of a fool.
  • But if we are to err, it is best that we err on the side of safety.
  • Some governments instruct public servants to err on the side of openness.
  • They are the ones who err in the other direction.
  • And we tried to err on the side of caution.
  • And, if you must make an error in judgment — at least, err on the side of the defenseless.
  • The umpire is all we have left in life who cannot err in a matter of judgment.
  • But even if all the techniques were foolproof, I would still want the polls to err.
  • Juries err every day, yet judges rarely disturb jury verdicts.
British Dictionary definitions for err


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 err

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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