Clip Art Handmade Nesting Dolls


Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.


Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri May 10, 2013 10:33 pm

• arrant •

Pronunciation: æ-rênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Complete, absolute, thoroughgoing, as an arrant knave. 2. (Obsolete) Wandering, vagrant, vagabond, as a knight arrant (better errant today).

Notes: Today's Good Word is a misspelling of errant that stuck. For years the two words meant the same. Recently, however, arrant has been used only in sense No. 1 above, while errant has kept the original meaning, No. 2 above. Since it is so archaic, errant is often placed after the noun it modifies (French style): a knight errant or a pastor errant, who wanders from church to church. The adverb arrantly is used, but no noun has offered itself yet.

In Play: You will probably want to use this word more often in its most recent sense: "Griswold, the arrant knave, embezzled money for years, planning to cruise the Caribbean in such arrant luxury as would put a Saudi sheik to shame." Although now archaic, errant is such a lovely romantic word, it is difficult to resist the temptation of using it: "I watched the sunset through shimmering tufts of her hair, tossed occasionally by an errant evening breeze."

Word History: Today's Good Word is, as mentioned above, a misspelling of errant, the present participle of French errer, a verb meaning (1) "to wander, roam" and (2) "to go astray wandering". We can see how these two discrete meanings can emerge from the figurative use of the basic sense, "to go wandering". The figurative use of the word in the sense of "wander off (the straight and narrow), go astray" led to the sense of "exceptional" and onward to "absolute". English also borrowed the French verb err "to err", another metaphorical sense of going astray. (We are happy that our errant Good Words reach Lew Jury and inspire him to suggest such words of today's quality to us.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4050
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: Arrant

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat May 11, 2013 12:15 am

Arrant goes back to the seventeenth century: Hamlet, ...but he's an arrant knave."
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2904
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Arrant

Postby MTC » Sat May 11, 2013 6:29 am

"The word arrant occurs 16 times in the plays of Shakespeare, most frequently in the speech of the 'low' characters."

See complete list at: ... ant-knave/

Here is one of the more colorful examples:
Dame Quickly:Yonder he comes; and that arrant malmsey-nose knave, with him. –Henry IV, Part Two II,i

Apparently he's also an errant knave.

A fortified Madeira wine of the sweetest type.


Trump speech: errant breeze from arrant ass.

Apocrypha of MTC
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1073
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: Arrant

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat May 11, 2013 12:15 pm

Something about the things you all wrote
above reminded me of the Scouting Song,
"The Happy Wanderer". Good thoughts.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 3850
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: Arrant

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat May 11, 2013 4:13 pm

Someone else has an apocrapha! Will?
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2904
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: Arrant

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat May 11, 2013 7:10 pm

Robert L. Stevenson called his shadow, in the Child's Garden of Verse, an arrant sleepyhead. My mother defined arrant for me when I was three years old so I could better understand the poem.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1960
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 5 guests