Erica Look up Erica at
fem. proper name, feminine form of Eric. The plant genus is Modern Latin, from Greek ereike "heath."
Erie Look up Erie at
one of the Great Lakes, named for a native Iroquoian people who lived nearby, from French Erie, shortening of Rhiienhonons, said to mean "raccoon nation," perhaps in reference to a totemic animal. Related: Erian.
erigible (adj.) Look up erigible at
"capable of being erected," 1785, from stem of Latin erigere (see erect (adj.)).
Erin Look up Erin at
ancient name of Ireland, from Old English Erinn, dative of Eriu "Ireland" (see Irish (n.)). As a girl's name in U.S., rare before 1954, popular 1976-1985.
Erinys (n.) Look up Erinys at
(plural Erinyes), one of the three avenging spirits (Alecto, Tisiphone, Megaera) in Greek religion, identified with the Furies, of unknown origin, perhaps "the angry spirit" (compare Arcadian erinein "to be angry," Greek orinein "to raise, stir, excite," eris "strife, discord"). Related: Erinnic; Erinnical (1610s).
Eris Look up Eris at
goddess of discord in Greek mythology, from Greek eris "strife, discord," which is of uncertain origin. Watkins suggests PIE root *ere- (3) "to separate, adjoin." Related: Eristic.
Eritrea Look up Eritrea at
named 1890 when it was an Italian colony, ultimately from Mare Erythreum, Roman name of the Red Sea, from Greek Erythre Thalassa, literally "Red Sea" (which to the Greeks also included the Gulf of Arabia and the Indian Ocean), from erythros "red" (see red (1)).
Erl-king (n.) Look up Erl-king at
1797, in Scott's translation of Goethe, from German Erl-könig, fiend who haunts the depths of forests in German and Scandinavian poetic mythology, literally "alder-king;" according to OED, Herder's erroneous translation of Danish ellerkonge "king of the elves." Compare German Eller, Erle "alder" (see alder).
Ermentrude Look up Ermentrude at
fem. proper name, from Old High German Ermentrudis, from ermin "whole, universal" + trut "beloved, dear."
ermine (n.) Look up ermine at
late 12c., from Old French ermine (12c., Modern French hermine), used in reference to both the animal and the fur. Apparently the word is a convergence of Latin (mus) Armenius "Armenian (mouse)" -- ermines being abundant in Asia Minor -- and an unrelated Germanic word for "weasel" (represented by Old High German harmo "ermine, stoat, weasel," adj. harmin; Old Saxon harmo, Old English hearma "shrew," etc.) that happened to sound like it. OED splits the difference between competing theories. The fur, especially with the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals in the pure white of the winter coat, was used for the lining of official and ceremonial garments, in England especially judicial robes, hence figurative use from 18c. for "the judiciary." Related: Ermined.
erne (n.) Look up erne at
"sea eagle," from Old English earn "eagle," from Proto-Germanic *aron-, *arnuz "eagle" (source also of Old High German arn, German Aar, Middle Dutch arent, Old Norse örn, Gothic ara "eagle"), from PIE root *or- "great bird" (source also of Greek ornis "bird," Old Church Slavonic orilu, Lithuanian erelis, Welsh eryr "eagle"). The Germanic word also survives in the first element of names such as Arnold and Arthur.
Ernest Look up Ernest at
masc. proper name, from French Ernest, which is of German origin (compare Old High German Ernust, German Ernst), literally "earnestness" (see earnest). Among the top 50 names for boys born in U.S. from 1880 through 1933.
Ernestine Look up Ernestine at
fem. form of Ernest. As an adjective, in German history, "pertaining to the elder branch of the Saxon house," who descend from Ernest, Elector of Saxony 15c.
erode (v.) Look up erode at
1610s, "gnaw or eat away" (transitive), a back-formation from erosion, or else from French éroder, from Latin erodere "to gnaw away, consume," from assimilated form of ex- "away" (see ex-) + rodere "gnaw" (see rodent). Intransitive sense "become worn away" is by 1905. Related: Eroded; eroding. Originally of acids, ulcers, etc.; geological sense is from 1830.
erogenous (adj.) Look up erogenous at
"inducing erotic sensation or sexual desire," 1889, from Greek eros "sexual love" (see Eros) + -genous "producing." A slightly earlier variant was erogenic (1887), from French érogénique. Both, as OED laments, are improperly formed. Erogenous zone attested by 1905.
In this connection reference may be made to the well-known fact that in some hysterical subjects there are so-called "erogenous zones" simple pressure on which suffices to evoke the complete orgasm. There is, perhaps, some significance, from our present point of view, in the fact that, as emphasized by Savill ("Hysterical Skin Symptoms," Lancet, January 30 1904) the skin is one of the very best places to study hysteria. [Havelock Ellis, "Studies in the Psychology of Sex," 1914]
Eros (n.) Look up Eros at
god of love, late 14c., from Greek eros (plural erotes), "god or personification of love," literally "love," from eran "to love," erasthai "to love, desire," which is of uncertain origin.

Freudian sense of "urge to self-preservation and sexual pleasure" is from 1922. Ancient Greek distinguished four ways of love: erao "to be in love with, to desire passionately or sexually;" phileo "have affection for;" agapao "have regard for, be contented with;" and stergo, used especially of the love of parents and children or a ruler and his subjects.
erose (adj.) Look up erose at
of a leaf, an insect wing, etc., "with indented edges that appear as if gnawed," 1793, from Latin erosus, past participle of erodere "gnaw away" (see erode).
erosion (n.) Look up erosion at
1540s, from Middle French erosion (16c.), from Latin erosionem (nominative erosio) "a gnawing away," noun of action from past participle stem of erodere "gnaw away" (see erosion). Related: Erosional.
erosive (adj.) Look up erosive at
1725, of tumors, etc.; 1827 in geology, from eros-, past participle stem of Latin erodere "gnaw away" (see erode) + -ive.
erotic (adj.) Look up erotic at
1650s, from French érotique (16c.), from Greek erotikos "caused by passionate love, referring to love," from eros (genitive erotos) "sexual love" (see Eros). Earlier form was erotical (1620s).
erotica (n.) Look up erotica at
1820, noun use of neuter plural of Greek erotikos "amatory" (see erotic); originally a booksellers' catalogue heading.
Force Flame
And with a Blonde push
Over your impotence
Flits Steam
[Emily Dickinson, #854, c. 1864]
eroticism (n.) Look up eroticism at
1853, from erotic + -ism.
eroticize (v.) Look up eroticize at
1914, from erotic + -ize. Related: Eroticized; eroticizing.
erotomania (n.) Look up erotomania at
1813, defined then as "Desperate love; sentimentalism producing morbid feelings," from comb. form of erotic + mania.
erotomaniac (n.) Look up erotomaniac at
"one driven mad by passionate love" (sometimes also used in the sense of "nymphomaniac"), 1858, from erotomania.
err (v.) Look up err at
c. 1300, from Old French errer "go astray, lose one's way; make a mistake; transgress," from Latin errare "wander, go astray," figuratively "be in error," from PIE root *ers- (1) "be in motion, wander around" (source also of 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.
errancy (n.) Look up errancy at
1620s, from errant + -ancy.
errand (n.) Look up errand at
Old English ærende "message, mission; answer, news, tidings," a common Germanic word (cognates: Old Saxon arundi, Old Norse erendi, Danish ærinde, Swedish ärende, Old Frisian erende, Old High German arunti "message"), which is of uncertain origin. Compare Old English ar "messenger, servant, herald." Originally of important missions; meaning "short, simple journey and task" is attested by 1640s. Related: Errands. In Old English, ærendgast was "angel," ærendraca was "ambassador."
errant (adj.) Look up errant at
mid-14c., "travelling, roving," from Anglo-French erraunt, from two Old French words that were confused even before they reached English: 1. Old French errant, present participle of errer "to travel or wander," from Late Latin iterare, from Latin iter "journey, way," from root of ire "to go" (see ion); 2. Old French errant, past participle of errer (see err). The senses fused in English 14c., but much of the sense of the latter since has gone with arrant.
errata (n.) Look up errata at
"list of corrections attached to a printed book," 1580s, plural of erratum (q.v.).
erratic (adj.) Look up erratic at
late 14c., "wandering, moving," from Old French erratique "wandering, vagrant" (13c.) and directly from Latin erraticus "wandering, straying, roving," from erratum "an error, mistake, fault," past participle of errare "to wander; to err" (see err). Sense of "irregular, eccentric" is attested by 1841. The noun is from 1620s, of persons; 1849, of boulders. Related: Erratically.
erratum (n.) Look up erratum at
"an error in writing or printing," 1580s, from Latin erratum (plural errata), neuter past participle of errare "to wander; to err" (see err).
erroneous (adj.) Look up erroneous at
late 14c., from Old French erroneus and directly from Latin erroneus "vagrant, wandering" (in Late Latin "erroneous"), from erronem (nominative erro) "a wanderer, vagabond," from past participle stem of errare "to wander; to err" (see err). Related: Erroneously.
error (n.) Look up error at
also, through 18c., errour; c. 1300, "a deviation from truth made through ignorance or inadvertence, a mistake," also "offense against morality or justice; transgression, wrong-doing, sin;" from Old French error "mistake, flaw, defect, heresy," from Latin errorem (nominative error) "a wandering, straying, a going astray; meandering; doubt, uncertainty;" also "a figurative going astray, mistake," from errare "to wander; to err" (see err). From early 14c. as "state of believing or practicing what is false or heretical; false opinion or belief, heresy." From late 14c. as "deviation from what is normal; abnormality, aberration." From 1726 as "difference between observed value and true value."

Words for "error" in most Indo-European languages originally meant "wander, go astray" (for example Greek plane in the New Testament, Old Norse villa, Lithuanian klaida, Sanskrit bhrama-), but Irish has dearmad "error," from dermat "a forgetting."
errorless (adj.) Look up errorless at
1823, from error + -less.
ersatz (adj.) Look up ersatz at
1875, from German Ersatz "units of the army reserve," literally "compensation, replacement, substitute," from ersetzen "to replace," from Old High German irsezzen, from ir-, unaccented variant of ur- (see ur-) + setzen "to set" (see set (v.)). As a noun, from 1892.
Erse Look up Erse at
"of or pertaining to the Celts of Ireland and Scotland," late 14c., an early Scottish variant of Old English Irisc or Old Norse Irskr "Irish" (for which see Irish (n.)). It was applied by Lowland Scots to the Gaelic speech of the Highlanders (which originally is from Ireland); the sense shifted 19c. from "Highlanders" to "Irish."
erstwhile (adv.) Look up erstwhile at
1560s, "formerly," from erst "first, at first; once, long ago; till now" (13c.), earlier erest from Old English ærest "soonest, earliest," superlative of ær (see ere) + while (adv.). As an adjective, "former," from 1903. Cognate with Old Saxon and Old High German erist, German erst.
eructate (v.) Look up eructate at
1630s, from Latin eructatus, past participle of eructare "to belch forth" (see eructation). Related: Eructated; eructating.
eructation (n.) Look up eructation at
"belching," 1530s, from Latin eructationem (nominative eructatio) "a belching forth," noun of action from past participle stem of eructare "to belch forth, vomit," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + ructare "to belch," from PIE *reug- "to belch" (source also of Lithuanian rugiu "to belch," Greek eryge, Armenian orcam), which is probably imitative. Related: Eruct.
erudite (adj.) Look up erudite at
early 15c., "learned, well-instructed," from Latin eruditus "learned, accomplished, well-informed," past participle of erudire "to educate, teach, instruct, polish," literally "to bring out of the rough," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + rudis "unskilled, rough, unlearned" (see rude). Related: Eruditely.
erudition (n.) Look up erudition at
c. 1400, "instruction, education," from Latin eruditionem (nominative eruditio) "an instructing, instruction, learning," noun of action from past participle stem of erudire "to educate, instruct, polish" (see erudite). Meaning "learning, scholarship" is from 1520s.
erupt (v.) Look up erupt at
1650s, of diseases, etc., from Latin eruptus, past participle of erumpere "to break out, burst," from assimilated form of ex- "out" (see ex-) + rumpere "to break, rupture" (see rupture (n.)). Of volcanoes, from 1770 (the Latin word was used in reference to Mount Etna). Related: Erupted; erupting.
eruption (n.) Look up eruption at
early 15c., from Middle French éruption (14c.) and directly from Latin eruptionem (nominative eruptio) "a breaking out," noun of action from past participle stem of erumpere "break out, burst forth" (see eruption).
eruptive (adj.) Look up eruptive at
1640s; see erupt + -ive. Perhaps from French éruptif.
erysipelas (n.) Look up erysipelas at
late 14c., skin disease also known as St. Anthony's Fire or ignis sacer, from Greek erysipelas, perhaps from erythros "red" (see red (1)) + pella "skin" (see film (n.)). Related: Erysipelatous.
erythema (n.) Look up erythema at
medical Latin, from Greek erythema "a redness on the skin; a blush; redness," from erythainein "to become red," from erythros "red" (see red (1)). Related: Erythematous.
erythro- Look up erythro- at
before vowels, erythr-, word-forming element meaning "red," from Greek erythro-, comb. form of erythros "red" (in Homer, also the color of copper and gold); see red (1).
erythro- Look up erythro- at
before vowels erythr-, word-forming element meaning "red," from comb. form of Greek erythros "red" (see red (1)).
Erzgebirge Look up Erzgebirge at
German, literally "ore mountains."