When you err, you make a mistake or do something wrong. When a newspaper reporter errs in a printed story, the paper often prints a correction the next day.

By itself, err, which shares a Latin root with error, is a formal way to say "mess up." The proverb "To err is human, to forgive divine" is an old-fashioned version of "Hey, everyone makes mistakes. Why don't you be the bigger person and let it go?" Err can also mean to go in a certain direction, as in another common saying, "Err on the side of caution," or "Play it safe."

Definitions of err

v make a mistake or be incorrect

mistake, slip
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remember incorrectly
slip up, stumble, trip up
make an error
judge incorrectly
fall for
be deceived, duped, or entrapped by
underestimate, underrate
make too low an estimate of
overestimate, overrate
make too high an estimate of
miscalculate, misestimate
judge incorrectly

v wander from a direct course or at random

drift, stray
cast, drift, ramble, range, roam, roll, rove, stray, swan, tramp, vagabond, wander
move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

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