verb (used without object)

  1. to go astray in thought or belief; be mistaken; be incorrect.
  2. to go astray morally; sin: To err is human.
  3. Archaic. to deviate from the true course, aim, or purpose.

verb (intr)

  1. to make a mistake; be incorrect
  2. to stray from the right course or accepted standards; sin
  3. to act with bias, esp favourable biasto err on the side of justice

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.

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