1. Roving, especially in search of adventure: knights errant.
2. Failing to adhere to guidelines or moral standards: errant youngsters.
a. Moving from the proper course or established limits: errant lambs.
b. Aimless or irregular in motion: an errant afternoon breeze.
c. Missing an intended target or recipient: an errant shot.
[Middle English erraunt, from Anglo-Norman, partly from Old French errer, to travel about (from Vulgar Latin *iterāre, from Latin iter, journey; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots) and partly from Old French errer, to err; see ERR.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.