ARRANT (a variant of “errant,” from Lat. errare, to wander),
a word at first used in its original meaning of wandering, as in
“knight-errant,” thus an arrant or itinerant preacher, an arrant
thief, one outlawed and wandering at large; the meaning easily
passed to that of self-declared, notorious, and by the middle of
the 16th century was confined, as an intensive adjective, to
words of opprobrium and abuse, an arrant coward meaning thus
a self-declared, downright coward.
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