Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short trip taken to perform a specified task, usually for another.
  • n. The purpose or object of such a trip: Your errand was to mail the letter.
  • n. Archaic A mission; an embassy.
  • n. Archaic An oral message that has been entrusted to one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A trip to accomplish a small mission or to do some business (dropping items by, doing paperwork, going to a friend's house, etc.)
  • n. The purpose of such trip.
  • n. An oral message trusted to a person for delivery.
  • v. To send someone on an errand.
  • v. To go on an errand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A special business intrusted to a messenger; something to be told or done by one sent somewhere for the purpose; often, a verbal message; a commission. Also, one's purpose in going anywhere.
  • n. Any specific task, usually of a routine nature, requiring some form of travel, usually locally. An errand is often on behalf of someone else, but sometimes for one's own purposes.
  • n. A mission.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • An obsolete variant of arrant.
  • n. A special business intrusted to a messenger; a verbal charge or message; a mandate or order; something to be told or done: as, the servant was sent on an errand; he told his errand; he has done the errand.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a short trip that is taken in the performance of a necessary task or mission

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English erand, from Old English ǣrend.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English erande, erende, from Old English ǣrende ("errand, message; mission; embassy; answer, news, tidings, business, care"), from Proto-Germanic *airundijan (“message, errand”), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *ey- (“to go”). Cognate with German dialectal Erend, Ernd ("order, contract, task, errand"), Danish ærinde ("errand"), Swedish ärende ("errand"), Norwegian ærend ("errand"), Icelandic eyrindi, erindi ("errand").

Examples

  • ~To this my errand~, etc., _i. e._ in comparison with this errand of mine and the anxiety it involved.

    Milton's Comus

  • But my main errand is different, more limited but perhaps at least as important: to call attention to the boldness and consistency of the political initiatives taken by the three laureates ever since the opening of the Oslo negotiations.

    The Nobel Peace Prize 1994 - Presentation Speech

  • Whereupon Salih arose and, kissing the ground a second time, said, “O King of the Age, my errand is to Allah and the magnanimous liege lord and the valiant lion, the report of whose good qualities the caravans far and near have dispread and whose renown for benefits and beneficence and clemency and graciousness and liberality to all climes and countries hath sped.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • However, an account of his errand is brought to the king of Nineveh, not by way of information against

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • "If he come to see me" (as it has always been reckoned a piece of neighbourly kindness to visit the sick) "he speaks vanity; that is, he pretends friendship, and that his errand is to mourn with me and to comfort me; he tells me he is very sorry to see me so much indisposed, and wishes me my health; but it is all flattery and falsehood."

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume III (Job to Song of Solomon)

  • The errand is short, but with the temperature so low every step I take is a great sacrifice.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • After Claire excused herself to run her unspecified "errand" - making Roger shudder only slightly-he and Brianna had driven to the pub, but then decided to wait for their supper, since the evening was unexpectedly fine.

    Dragonfly in Amber

  • Nowhere was there such a fusion of Greek, Jewish, and Oriental peculiarities, and an intelligent Jew educated in that city could hardly fail to manifest all these elements in his mental character. eloquent -- turning his Alexandrian culture to high account. and mighty in the scriptures -- his eloquence enabling him to express clearly and enforce skilfully what, as a Jew, he had gathered from a diligent study of the Old Testament Scriptures. came to Ephesus -- on what errand is not known.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • The speaker avers that he is dying, so therefore his physical body's "guest," the soul, must go forth and run this important errand, which is to "give the world the lie."

    Archive 2009-09-01

  • Speak and hide naught of that wherefor thou art come; for I know why ye come and what is your errand, which is thus and thus.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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