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me·​an·​der mē-ˈan-dər How to pronounce meander (audio)
: a winding path or course
the new path, which he supposed only to make a few meandersSamuel Johnson
especially : labyrinth
: a turn or winding of a stream
The meander eventually became isolated from the main stream.
meandrous adjective


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meandered; meandering mē-ˈan-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce meander (audio)

intransitive verb

: to follow a winding or intricate course
across the ceiling meandered a long crackJohn Galsworthy
: to wander aimlessly or casually without urgent destination : ramble
he meandered with the sightseers gawping at the boat peopleJohn le Carré

Did you know?

Meander comes from Greek Maiandros, an old name for a winding river in Asia Minor that is now known as the Menderes. Despite this origin, the word is more commonly used to refer to a person's wandering course than a river's.

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

Verb The path meanders through the garden. We meandered around the village. The conversation meandered on for hours.
Recent Examples on the Web
The mountain’s curtain-like curves meander around an open core, but its individual bits are closely fitted. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2023 Some treatments, like the Garden Signature massage, even begin with a barefoot, sense-igniting meander through said garden. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 11 Oct. 2023 Forecasters think Margot will slow down and could stall or meander within weak steering currents into the weekend over the open Atlantic. Leigh Morgan, al, 13 Sep. 2023 Streets and sidewalks meander past lots that were once meant for houses but now have only bits of trash and waist-high weeds. Mira Rojanasakul, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2023 Overhearing Mars Those on a lunchtime meander through Chow Town perked up when Skizzy Mars’ set blasted out from the T-Mobile stage. Kayla Samoy, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2023 Trails and pathways meander throughout all of it, inviting locals and visitors to get out into nature for birding, camping, sunbathing and observing fascinating trees and plants. Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Aug. 2023 The park sprawls across most of St. John, protecting unspoiled beaches edged by coral reefs, sea turtle breeding grounds, and hiking trails that meander through tropical forests. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 26 July 2023 The lights are dim, a few couples meander past, and a group of kids on a field trip is being shepherded around. Samantha Laine Perfas, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 July 2023
Norma will continue to meander north, probably approaching Cabo San Lucas into the weekend. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2023 The curious bear was seen meandering around on a catamaran boat that was docked at the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club in Naples on Wednesday, per NBC2 News. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 8 Oct. 2023 The conversations are meandering but scattered with memorable insights and reading recommendations. The New Yorker, 29 Sep. 2023 The speech is ostensibly about the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, whose members the former president is trying to court, but Trump has a longstanding reputation for lengthy and thematically meandering speeches. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023 Get your steps in by walking up Castle Hill, a feat rewarded with an incredible view, or spend a day meandering through the narrow streets of Old Town. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 5 Nov. 2023 Imagine taking nearly three months to meander across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, reveling in the romantic atmosphere of first-class train travel all the while. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Nov. 2023 The design is a white-on-blue map of downtown Los Angeles with the mighty L.A. River rendered as a line of orange meandering through the heart of the city. Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Tastings—both wine and olive oil—are just two of the myriad activities and amenities available at the château, which also include cooking classes, massage, yoga, horseback riding, lawn bowling, a secluded pool, and a walking path that meanders through woods, gardens, and vineyards. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 21 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meander.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of meander was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near meander

Cite this Entry

“Meander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
me·​an·​der mē-ˈan-dər How to pronounce meander (audio)
: a turn or winding of a stream
: a winding path or course


2 of 2 verb
meandered; meandering
: to follow a winding or complicated course
: to wander without a goal or purpose

More from Merriam-Webster on meander

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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