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[er-uh nd] /ˈɛr ənd/
a short and quick trip to accomplish a specific purpose, as to buy something, deliver a package, or convey a message, often for someone else.
the purpose of such a trip:
He finished his errands.
a special mission or function entrusted to a messenger; commission.
Origin of errand
before 900; Middle English erande, Old English ærende; cognate with Old High German āruntī; compare Old English ār messenger, Gothic airus
1, 2. mission, task, assignment, chore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for errand
  • Even in quiet times, predicting the paths of exchange rates is a fool's errand.
  • As individuals model our errand delivering representatives, eco-con jobs boost melioristic moral overall.
  • For anyone else, trying to forge a peace between these combatants would have been a fool's errand.
  • But three things suggest that it is more than a fool's errand.
  • While you can theoretically use your fingers to operate the device, this is in reality a fool's errand of the highest order.
  • And trying to beat the market was a fool's errand for almost everyone.
  • It's a fool's errand to make precise predictions about the future.
  • And if people are irrational, then trying to guess what their expectations will be tomorrow is certainly a fools errand.
  • The quest for empirical evidence is a fool's errand.
  • Pushing for a democracy or pluralism is a fools errand in this part of the world.
British Dictionary definitions for errand


a short trip undertaken to perform a necessary task or commission (esp in the phrase run errands)
the purpose or object of such a trip
Word Origin
Old English ǣrende; related to ār messenger, Old Norse erendi message, Old High German ārunti, Swedish ärende
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 errand

Old English ærende "message, mission; answer, news, tidings," from Proto-Germanic *ærundjam (cf. Old Saxon arundi, Old Norse erendi, Danish ærende, Swedish ärende, Old Frisian erende, Old High German arunti "message"). Originally of important missions; meaning "short, simple journey and task" is attested by 1640s. Related: Errands.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with errand
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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