me·​an·​der | \ mē-ˈan-dər How to pronounce meander (audio) \

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\ mē-​ˈan-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce meander (audio) \

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 \ mē-​ˈan-​drəs How to pronounce meander (audio) \ 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

Verb 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 The separate storylines meander but do manage to link up for a satisfying, emotional finale. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream during the holidays: 'Wonder Woman 1984' on HBO Max, Pixar's 'Soul' on Disney+," 23 Dec. 2020 To ask them to hold on through any length of a meander — to endure — sounds counterintuitive. Christopher Borrelli,, "As election results continue to drag out, are you freaking out? You’re not alone. Why patience is not an American virtue.," 5 Nov. 2020 The system is expected to drift southwest or meander for the next few days, the National Hurricane Center said. Carlie Wells,, "National Hurricane Center: System in Atlantic not expected to develop," 6 Aug. 2020 Balancing act RVs with license plates from coronavirus hotspots like Texas, Florida, Arizona, and California meander through town. Ryan Dorgan, National Geographic, "Surging tourism is straining this Yellowstone gateway town," 27 July 2020 From CBS Pittsburgh, a herd of deer meander on a normally busy street of Milvale, Pennsylvania. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "John Krasinki’s ‘Some Good News’ offers advice to grads: 5 feel-good items to make you smile," 4 May 2020 In the upper delta near the Arizona border, west of the channel where the pulse flow roiled through in 2014, an old meander of the river forms a sweeping scar in the desert. Ian James,, "How a trickle of water is breathing life into the parched Colorado River Delta," 19 Apr. 2020 Getting there, however, has been a lengthy meander through the consciousness of one of Britain’s greatest statesmen and legislators, a key player in the establishment of the Church of England and the creation... Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, "‘The Mirror and the Light’ Review: Thomas Cromwell’s Final Act," 10 Mar. 2020 Strips of perennial hay grass (for his cattle) and native prairie species like milkweed meander across the slopes—​year-round flora that pump carbon into the soil. Brian Barth, Popular Science, "The secret to curbing farm emissions is buried in the Stone Age," 1 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Streams meander past wood ferns and mountain laurel. New York Times, "Escape From the City: 9 Winter Outings That Fight Cabin Fever," 18 Dec. 2020 The Mustangs answered as Max Cowgill found Caleb Texada, who used his blockers to meander for a 49-yard touchdown off a screen pass and knot the contest up at 7-7 with 10:27 left in the second quarter. Carlos Silva, Dallas News, "Grapevine’s late charge comes up short in regional playoff loss to Lubbock-Cooper," 24 Dec. 2020 The property has four pools, gardens to meander through, and a free shuttle to Old Town. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "Expedia Is Offering Two-Week Remote Work Trips for $20.20," 10 Dec. 2020 After that, the stars will meander relative to background quasars unless astronomers dispatch a follow-up mission to remap the sky. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "Precise maps of millions of bright quasars show our place in the cosmos as never before," 24 Nov. 2020 More straight-line tracking eventually brought Moore into a spruce thicket alongside a river where the buck’s trail began to meander. Bob Humphrey, Outdoor Life, "5 of the Biggest Bucks Ever Taken in the Northeast," 19 Nov. 2020 Walking trails meander for miles through wooded pathways or open prairies. Dallas News, "Amenities showcased at area 55-plus active adult communities," 15 Nov. 2020 Eta is expected to meander over the southern Gulf for the next few days. Leigh Morgan, al, "Tropical Storm Eta track update: Eta moves into the Gulf; expected to become a hurricane," 9 Nov. 2020 Beyond Central America, Eta or a spin-off storm from Eta may meander northeast over the Caribbean Sea. Cheryl Mccloud, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Eta is inching toward Nicaragua as 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 storm," 3 Nov. 2020

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for meander

Time Traveler

The first known use of meander was in 1599

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce meander (audio) \
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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