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erratic

[ih-rat-ik] /ɪˈræt ɪk/
adjective
1.
deviating from the usual or proper course in conduct or opinion; eccentric; queer:
erratic behavior.
2.
having no certain or definite course; wandering; not fixed:
erratic winds.
3.
Geology. noting or pertaining to a boulder or the like carried by glacial ice and deposited some distance from its place of origin.
4.
(of a lichen) having no attachment to the surface on which it grows.
noun
5.
an erratic or eccentric person.
6.
Geology. an erratic boulder or the like.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; Middle English < Latin errāticus, equivalent to errāt(us) (past participle of errāre to err) + -icus -ic
Related forms
erratically, adverb
erraticism, noun
nonerratic, adjective, noun
nonerratically, adverb
unerratic, adjective
Can be confused
erotic, erratic, exotic.
Synonyms
1. unpredictable, unstable, capricious.
Antonyms
1. consistent, regular, stable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for erratic
  • The event is erratic and unpredictable, but it occurs roughly every three to seven years.
  • His drinking increased, as did his erratic wandering and his constant difficulties with his parents.
  • My work schedual is erratic so I'm on at different times depending on the day.
  • This is why the ice extent is growing more erratic.
  • Such erratic motion by baitfish can provoke a strike.
  • Over the next two years, his behavior became erratic.
  • He was erratic, sure, but that was entirely within character.
  • He was exhausted, confused and erratic.
  • It's almost a bungling erratic approach.
  • No wonder some within reach thought him erratic.
British Dictionary definitions for erratic

erratic

/ɪˈrætɪk/
adjective
1.
irregular in performance, behaviour, or attitude; inconsistent and unpredictable
2.
having no fixed or regular course; wandering
noun
3.
a piece of rock that differs in composition, shape, etc, from the rock surrounding it, having been transported from its place of origin, esp by glacial action
4.
an erratic person or thing
Derived Forms
erratically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin errāticus, from errāre to wander, err
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 erratic
adj.

late 14c., "wandering, moving," from Old French erratique (13c.) and directly from Latin erraticus "wandering, straying, roving," from erratum "an error, mistake, fault," past participle of errare "to wander, err" (see err). Sense of "irregular, eccentric" is attested by 1841. The noun is from 1620s, of persons; 1849, of boulders. Related: Erratically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for erratic

glacier-transported rock fragment that differs from the local bedrock. Erratics may be embedded in till or occur on the ground surface and may range in size from pebbles to huge boulders weighing thousands of tons. The distance of transportation may range from less than 1 km (0.6 mile) to more than 800 km (500 miles); those transported over long distances generally consist of rock resistant to the shattering and grinding effects of glacial transport. Erratics composed of unusual and distinctive rock types can be traced to their source of origin and serve as indicators of the direction of glacial movement. Studies making use of such indicator erratics have provided information on the general origins and flow paths of the major ice sheets and on the locations of important mineral deposits. Erratics played an important part in the initial recognition of the last ice age and its extent. Originally thought to be transported by gigantic floods or by ice rafting, erratics were first explained in terms of glacial transport by the Swiss-American naturalist and geologist J.L.R. Agassiz in 1840.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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