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 meandering (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 meandrous (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 Yet at around the same time as Lohan, about a decade ago, Victoria Beckham—aka Posh Spice—was navigating the opening meanders of the same path with aplomb. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 This is where our science hero spent around a third of her time, swimming around a standing meander, which is a permanent bend in a current. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "This Seal Is Wearing a Data-Mining Hat for Science," 6 Dec. 2019 Pathways dotted with flagstone meander to cool retreat spaces tucked under the canopy of the redwoods, around the sprawling lawn, lush garden beds and a colorful rose garden. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: A stunning remodel in a gorgeous Hidden Oaks setting," 19 Aug. 2019 Files' story and the items in the self-care kits will help students as the meander through life, Hoyt believes. al, "Birmingham high schoolers to receive mental health kits thanks to local effort," 14 Aug. 2019 If these meanders, or ripples, are extreme, cold Arctic air can spill southward or hotter air from the middle of the planet can move north. Somini Sengupta, New York Times, "A Heat Wave Tests Europe’s Defenses. Expect More.," 1 July 2019 Like a slow-moving river, a slower jet stream forms deep meanders, which can stall during the summer, sometimes for weeks. Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, "Europe has had five 500-year summers in 15 years. And now this," 28 June 2019 But after a promising setup, the film meanders, trying and failing to find some sense of purpose with the two oddball characters and their rich back stories. Katie Walsh, Twin Cities, "‘Tomorrow Man’ script fails fascinating characters, but Danner, Lithgow shine," 6 June 2019 Her tiaras had strong ties to the past—one Greek meander tiara included diamonds from Napoleon’s sword, another included pearls belonging to the Empress Josephine. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "A 40-Carat Diamond Ring with Ties to the French Royal Family Was Just Recovered by Police in Paris," 8 Apr. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The 1,500-year-old Talmud is a meandering text including interpretations of biblical Halakha, or Jewish law, ethics and narratives full of digressions and arguments among rabbis. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "A Revolution in Jewish Learning, With Women Driving Change," 4 Jan. 2020 The most mysterious item is a segment of free-standing concrete wall with a narrow, meandering ledge. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: An ambitious collage of works by regional photographers," 13 Dec. 2019 Tropical downpours As a consequence of this fast Pacific jet stream pattern, a piece of upper-level energy will break off the fast flow, like an eddy, and meander into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Atmospheric river, tropical downpours and unseasonably warm weather to kick off holiday week," 19 Dec. 2019 Native hardwoods like hickory and sycamore festoon the banks of the river, which meanders through the 40-acre cattle farm tucked into the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Veterinary drugs are wreaking havoc on wildlife worldwide," 6 Dec. 2019 The highest toll was in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, where levees burst in at least 14 places along the Abukuma River, which meanders through a number of cities in the largely agricultural prefecture. NBC News, "Rescuers slog through mud as Japan typhoon death toll rises to 66," 15 Oct. 2019 Create golf cart paths to traverse the property and natural bridges to span the seasonal creek that meanders through the property. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: Danville estate makes the most of its amazing views of Mount Diablo," 18 Sep. 2019 Her style is intense, yet repetitive, and endlessly meandering. The Oregonian/oregonlive, al, "Ask Amy: Loud-talking wife verbally dominates conversations; sounds like she needs a listening stick," 22 Apr. 2019 Lieuvain’s boring, bizarre address at the agricultural fair has its modern equivalents – think of Trump’s meandering rally speeches, or his complaints about toilet flushing and cancer-causing windmills. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "We’re living in the bizarre world that Flaubert envisioned," 10 Jan. 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

30 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Meander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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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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