The Meaning of Errands: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of errands? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word errands, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word errands mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word errands is the plural of the noun errand (pronunciation: ˈɛrənd), which is a word meaning some short trip taken to complete a task. One will often use the phrase run errands, which means taking a trip from the home for a specific purpose. This form of travel is for special business or tidings, not for fun. This is a quick trip for a special mission – not simply being out of the house for fun, but to get groceries, gas, or go to other necessary stores or establishments.The word errand is sometimes used to describe a verbal message, but this is not as common.  Other dictionaries such as ones by Harpercollins Publishers, Collins English Dictionary, American Heritage Unabridged 8th Edition, 5th Edition, 12th Edition, Unabridged 7th Edition, or Unabridged 2nd Edition and more will also have entries for the word errand. Don’t make an excuse for getting your errands done!

According to Urban Dictionary, the term errands is also the intelligence agency term for psychological operation. This aggression might take the form of a terrorist attack or crazed gunman on a spree with a group of civilians. These serve the intent of panicking the public into demanding a better police force and tighter laws. This mayhem is also known as government-sponsored terrorism or blackshirts, psyops and conspiracy. One supposed example of this took place in Tasmania. Urban Dictionary even sells a mug and psyop neck gaiter. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean errands. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word errand. These are called cognates. A cognate is when a translation of a word between languages also looks or sounds similar. These are often formed when two words have the same language of origin or root. This list of translations for the word errand is provided by Word Sense, but you could also find translations in places like a German dictionary, Spanish dictionary, or French electronic resource, as well as places like the Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, an Italian Dictionary 1st Edition or Fifth Edition, the Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary and the Farlex Clipart Collection.

  •  Italian: commissione‎ (fem.), ambasciata‎ (fem.), incombenza‎ (fem.)
  •  Spanish: recado‎, misión
  •  Swedish: ärende‎
  •  Danish: ærinde‎ (neut.)
  •  Japanese: 使い‎, 使命‎ (しめい, shimei)
  •  Mandarin: 使命‎ (shǐmìng), 任務‎, 任务‎ (rènwu), 差使‎ (chāishǐ)
  •  French: course‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: поруче́ние‎ (neut.), командиро́вка‎ (fem.) (such as business trip), зада́ние‎ (neut.) (task)
  •  German: Besorgung‎ (fem.), Auftrag‎ (masc.)
  •  Turkish: edinme‎, tedarik‎

Can you figure out what languages the below translations are in? Try making flashcards or bookmarks to practice!

​​jdn auf besorgungen, ​etwas erledigen, ​einen botengang machen, ​​​볼일 reikalas uzdev​ums tugas, ​​​vyřizování der botengang ærinde αποστολή recad​o, ​ostvariti cilj küldetés tugas erindi incarico 用向き, ​​심부름, pavedimas, 여행의, ​용건, niečoho, pasiuntimas būt par izsūtāmo tugas, botengänge machen, ​​​​​botengang m, recadero m. 

What is the origin of the word errands?

According to Etymonline, the word errand was originally the Middle English erand or erande, from the Old English ærend or Old English ​ǣrende meaning message or mission. This comes from the Proto-Germanic airundija meaning message or errand, which is also the source of the Old Saxon arundi, Norwegian ærend, ​​​German Dialectal erend, Icelandic eyrindi, Old Norse erendi, Danish ærinde, Swedish ärende, Old Frisian erende, and Old High German ārunti. This can be compared to the Old English ar meaning messenger or servant. This was originally used in reference to important missions, and came to mean some short simple task by the 1640s. In Old English, the related words ærendgast meant “angel,” and ærendraca meant “ambassador.” This word is of Proto-Indo-European origin.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word errands?

There are a lot of different words that a person can use in place of the word errands. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word errands is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  office
  •  trouble
  •  duty
  •  occupation
  •  fun and games
  •  project
  •  vocation
  •  gig
  •  chore
  •  enterprise
  •  work
  •  commission
  •  stint
  •  long row to hoe
  •  daily grind
  •  bother
  •  province
  •  labor
  •  nuisance
  •  business
  •  strain
  •  employment
  •  task
  •  headache
  •  charge
  •  effort
  •  responsibility
  •  grindstone
  •  function
  •  pain
  •  message
  •  tax
  •  assignment
  •  grind
  •  toil
  •  undertaking
  •  millstone
  •  job
  •  mission
  •  deadweight
  •  calling
  •  load
  •  burden
  •  exercise
  •  errand
  •  onus

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning as the word errands. These opposite words are called antonyms. Learning antonyms is another great way to build your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word errands is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  big time
  •  relaxation
  •  foolery
  •  good time
  •  pastime
  •  gambol
  •  romp
  •  joke
  •  jocularity
  •  gaiety
  •  nonsense
  •  recreation
  •  playfulness
  •  cheer
  •  absurdity
  •  mirth
  •  sport
  •  fun
  •  joking
  •  diversion
  •  solace
  •  pleasure
  •  game
  •  play
  •  riot
  •  high jinks
  •  horseplay
  •  romping
  •  whoopee
  •  holiday
  •  laughter
  •  rejoicing
  •  celebration
  •  junketing
  •  treat
  •  tomfoolery
  •  festivity
  •  ball
  •  frolic
  •  clowning
  •  picnic
  •  amusement
  •  blast
  •  merriment
  •  buffoonery
  •  living it up
  •  distraction
  •  grins
  •  jesting
  •  escapade
  •  entertainment
  •  jollity
  •  enjoyment
  •  merrymaking
  •  joy

How can the word errands be used in a sentence?

The word errands can be used in many different ways in different sentences. Many examples are below.

She ran her errands in a routine nature. The purpose of such trip was a specific task with a specific order: first the post office, then the grocery store at the shopping center, then the bank, then the cleaners then home.

He had many household chores and errands to complete. He had to do paperwork, many sacks of leaves to recycle at the compost center by his ​friend’s house.

She treated every errand like a small mission, taking this sense of a short journey as a game to make the necessary duty more fun.

The woman from Princeton University was sent on an errand to the UK embassy to register the document signed by person B.

Overall, the word errands refer to the performance of a necessary task, like sending mail or going to the grocery store. This word is Old English in origin, from the Old English ærende. This word is pronounced ˈerənd.


  1. ERRAND Synonyms: 7 Synonyms & Antonyms for ERRAND | Thesaurus 
  2. FUN Synonyms: 86 Synonyms & Antonyms for FUN | Thesaurus 
  3. errand | Origin and meaning of errand | Online Etymology Dictionary
  4. Errand | Definition of Errand | Merriam-Webster  
  5. errand: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  6. Errands  | Urban Dictionary