1. a deviation from accuracy or correctness; a mistake, as in action or speech: His speech contained several factual errors.
  2. belief in something untrue; the holding of mistaken opinions.
  3. the condition of believing what is not true: in error about the date.
  4. a moral offense; wrongdoing; sin.
  5. Baseball. a misplay that enables a base runner to reach base safely or advance a base, or a batter to have a turn at bat prolonged, as the dropping of a ball batted in the air, the fumbling of a batted or thrown ball, or the throwing of a wild ball, but not including a passed ball or wild pitch.
  6. Mathematics. the difference between the observed or approximately determined value and the true value of a quantity.
  7. Law.
    1. a mistake in a matter of fact or law in a case tried in a court of record.
    2. writ of error.
  8. Philately. a stamp distinguished by an error or errors in design, engraving, selection of inks, or setting up of the printing apparatus.Compare freak1(def 5), variety(def 8).


  1. a mistake or inaccuracy, as in action or speecha typing error
  2. an incorrect belief or wrong judgment
  3. the condition of deviating from accuracy or correctness, as in belief, action, or speechhe was in error about the train times
  4. deviation from a moral standard; wrongdoinghe saw the error of his ways
  5. maths statistics a measure of the difference between some quantity and an approximation to or estimate of it, often expressed as a percentagean error of 5%
  6. statistics See type I error, type II error

also, through 18c., errour, c.1300, from Old French error “mistake, flaw, defect, heresy,” from Latin errorem (nominative error) “a wandering, straying, mistake,” from errare “to wander” (see err).

Words for “error” in most Indo-European languages originally meant “wander, go astray” (but cf. Irish dearmad “error,” from dermat “a forgetting”).


  1. A defect or insufficiency in structure or function.
  2. An act, assertion, or decision, especially one made in testing a hypothesis, that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true.

see comedy of errors; trial and error.

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