me·an·der | \ mē-ˈan-dər \

Definition of meander 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a winding path or course the new path, which he supposed only to make a few meanders —Samuel Johnson especially : labyrinth

2 : a turn or winding of a stream The meander eventually became isolated from the main stream.


meandered; meandering\-d(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of meander (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to follow a winding or intricate course across the ceiling meandered a long crack —John Galsworthy

2 : to wander aimlessly or casually without urgent destination : ramble he meandered with the sightseers gawping at the boat people —John le Carré

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Other words from meander


meandrous \-drəs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for meander


wander, roam, ramble, rove, traipse, meander mean to go about from place to place usually without a plan or definite purpose. wander implies an absence of or an indifference to a fixed course. fond of wandering about the square just watching the people roam suggests wandering about freely and often far afield. liked to roam through the woods ramble stresses carelessness and indifference to one's course or objective. the speaker rambled on without ever coming to the point rove suggests vigorous and sometimes purposeful roaming. armed brigands roved over the countryside traipse implies a course that is erratic but may sometimes be purposeful. traipsed all over town looking for the right dress meander implies a winding or intricate course suggestive of aimless or listless wandering. the river meanders for miles through rich farmland

Examples of meander in a Sentence


The path meanders through the garden. We meandered around the village. The conversation meandered on for hours.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thick channels of paint drag your eye not into the picture, but on a slow meander across its surface. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Wayne Thiebaud’s early works still confound," 20 Jan. 2018 Follow the trail past the saddle, and you're rewarded with an up-and-down ridge walk fit for a mountain run or slow meander — all the better to drink in the views. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "12 Anchorage-area hikes you can do in about 5 hours or less," 15 June 2018 Near Pisa the river Arno ends its long meander through Tuscany and runs into the Tyrrhenian sea. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Gone Fishing: Federico Curradi Casts a Spell at Pitti," 14 June 2018 Doyle recounts centuries of such engineering exploits: channelizing, straightening out rivers’ natural meanders, deepening their pathways, and scouring their beds of silt. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Can Rivers Be People Too?," 9 May 2018 What distinguishes Takahata’s movies are their zigzagging motions, their meandering paths that do not call attention to their meanders. Carlos Valladares, San Francisco Chronicle, "For Studio Ghibli devotees, a fantasy weekend at the Roxie," 13 Feb. 2018 The river is a crucial shipping route, Willson notes, and big barges could never navigate natural meanders. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, "Taming the Mighty Mississippi May Have Caused Bigger Floods," 10 Apr. 2018 By Patrick Reilly | For The Oregonian/OregonLive POLSON, Mont. -- This small town marks the spot where Flathead Lake narrows into a river and resumes its long meander toward the Pacific., "At Columbia River's doorstep, an uneasy lookout for invasive mussels," 10 Feb. 2018 Overgrown ditches, meander streams and remnants of placer mines denote a lost history and seemingly bird-rich country. Author: Christine Cunningham, Alaska Dispatch News, "In grouse country near Chicken, a bird dog has his day," 28 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The wake from the split meanders through the gorge's wind farms, causing output to spike and slump. Peter Fairley, Scientific American, "Weather-Smart Electric Grids Are Needed for Wind and Solar Power to Surge," 13 July 2018 Using subway artist Lee Quinones as the lead and the media's curiosity about him as a pretext, Ahearn's narrative meanders through the clubs and rail yards of the South Bronx. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Film / Music / Old Movies to Watch Now / On Video / Small Screen Urgh! A Music War and other punk and postpunk new wave cinema," 10 July 2018 Now, as in the past, the Dead can meander or soar, from show to show and even song to song. George Varga,, "Mickey Hart talks music, Grateful Dead, rhythm 'trancing' and giving Tipper Gore drum lessons," 5 July 2018 But at Friday’s Turner town hall in Atlanta, Stankey may have meandered a bit too close to a minefield in conveying that same point. Joe Pompeo, The Hive, "“How’s He Gonna React When There’s a Scandal?”: CNN Begins Its New Day Under John Stankey," 26 June 2018 Director Suli Holum does not exert much control over this meandering, self-indulgent script. Toby Zinman,, "John Jarboe and Bearded Ladies 'Go Down the Drain' at the Wilma Theater," 22 June 2018 Now: Paul Bettany Revisits His Most Iconic Characters The Dad-Approved Dad Hat My parents love few things more than to go on these long, meandering road trips alone together: Yosemite, San Juan Capistrano, Salt Lake City. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "GQ Editors on the Piece of Clothing They Stole from Dad," 15 June 2018 If the low forms as predicted by models, the system could meander offshore for a few days. Jenny Staletovich And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Messy Gulf storm could become rare preseason tropical system | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 Soak in the view or meander down to the crescent-moon shaped beach and chill. Gregory Thomas,, "One Day, One Place: Half Moon Bay harbor," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'meander.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of meander


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for meander


Latin maeander, from Greek maiandros, from Maiandros (now Menderes), river in Asia Minor


see meander entry 1

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Statistics for meander

Last Updated

12 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for meander

The first known use of meander was in 1599

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More Definitions for meander



English Language Learners Definition of meander

: to have a lot of curves instead of going in a straight or direct line : to follow a winding course

: to walk slowly without a specific goal, purpose, or direction

: to go from one topic to another without any clear direction


me·an·der | \ mē-ˈan-dər \
meandered; meandering

Kids Definition of meander

1 : to follow a winding course A brook meanders through the fields.

2 : to wander without a goal or purpose He spends his days meandering around town.

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Comments on meander

What made you want to look up meander? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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