1. upright in position or posture: to stand or sit erect.
  2. raised or directed upward: a dog with ears erect.
  3. Botany. vertical throughout; not spreading or declined: an erect stem; an erect leaf or ovule.
  4. Heraldry.
    1. (of a charge) represented palewise: a sword erect.
    2. (of an animal or part of an animal) represented upright: a boar’s head erect.
  5. Optics. (of an image) having the same position as the object; not inverted.

verb (used with object)

  1. to build; construct; raise: to erect a house.
  2. to raise and set in an upright or vertical position: to erect a telegraph pole.
  3. to set up or establish, as an institution; found.
  4. to bring about; cause to come into existence: to erect barriers to progress.
  5. Geometry. to draw or construct (a line or figure) upon a given line, base, or the like.
  6. to form or create legally (usually followed by into): to erect a territory into a state.
  7. Optics. to change (an inverted image) to the normal position.
  8. Machinery. to assemble; make ready for use.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become erect; stand up or out.


  1. upright in posture or position; not bent or leaningan erect stance
  2. (of an optical image) having the same orientation as the object; not inverted
  3. physiol (of the penis, clitoris, or nipples) firm or rigid after swelling with blood, esp as a result of sexual excitement
  4. (of plant parts) growing vertically or at right angles to the parts from which they arise

verb (mainly tr)

  1. to put up; construct; build
  2. to raise to an upright position; lift upto erect a flagpole
  3. to found or form; set up
  4. (also intr) physiol to become or cause to become firm or rigid by filling with blood
  5. to hold up as an ideal; exalt
  6. optics to change (an inverted image) to an upright position
  7. to draw or construct (a line, figure, etc) on a given line or figure, esp at right angles to it

late 14c., “upright, not bending,” from Latin erectus “upright, elevated, lofty; eager, alert, aroused,” past participle of erigere “raise or set up,” from e- “up” + regere “to direct, keep straight, guide” (see regal).


c.1400, a back-formation from erect (adj.) or else from Latin erectus. Related: Erected; erecting.


  1. Being in or having a vertical, upright position.
  2. Being in or having a stiff, rigid physiological condition.
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