adj. thorough, consummate, utter; wandering, errant

This word is fascinating to me because it’s really just an alternate spelling of “errant,” which is a derivation of the Middle English word “erraunt,” borrowed from the present particle of the Old French errer, meaning “to travel.” It was brought into Anglo-French in the mid-14th century, and for some reason in 1550, “arrant” took the alternative meaning of “thorough,” synonymous with words like “complete” or “consummate.” Mostly likely, the word took on the connotations of self-declaration, and since it was often used in the context of opprobrium (an errant thief, for instance), it began to be used as an intensifier.

§1518 · November 29, 2006 · Tags: ·

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