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 This tight two-way setup also begins and ends with a convoluted meander of connecting paths at either side of the bridge, which is a reliable recipe for collisions and crashes. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "The Brooklyn Bridge Finally Gets Its Own Bike Path! Except …," 7 Apr. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In March, when a vote on coronavirus aid was delayed several hours, Ms. Gillibrand used that time to meander from one senator’s hideaway office near the Senate floor to the next to buttonhole them on the issue. New York Times, "After Failures to Curb Sexual Assault, a Move Toward a Major Shift in Military Law," 27 Apr. 2021 But the music doesn’t develop much beyond this main concept, and frequently seems to meander. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Review: Dallas’ Voices of Change presents a mixed bag of modern classical music," 21 Apr. 2021 Drake uses the track to show off a new flow that manages to meander, sort of hypnotically, to the beat. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, "Is Drake Trying to Tell Us Something?," 10 Mar. 2021 In the summer, narrow switchbacks meander through wildflowers with views of Bradley Lake below. Britt Smith,, "Each of These Six Hikes Is a Point of Pride for Those Who Finish," 21 Apr. 2021 Custom wood dowel screens create a space that allows hotel guests to meander through and discover the various seating arrangements to nestle in and find comfort. Michael Alpiner, Forbes, "Hotel Marcel Set To Become The First Passive House Hotel In The US," 5 Apr. 2021 During your stay, meander the grounds, cozy up in your ocean-view suite, lounge in the poolside cabana, grab a bite at the open-air restaurant, or head to the nearby Wailea Beach for a swim. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, "How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon in Maui," 20 Mar. 2021 People would meander their way through the crowded floor to view hundreds of works of art displayed in the atrium. Emily Mesner, Anchorage Daily News, "Annual showcase of Anchorage student art goes on — projected onto buildings," 18 Mar. 2021 The Cataloochee Valley, with its historic log dwellings and frequent elk visitors, is the perfect spot for a picnic, Shuler says, and Palmer and other small creeks that meander through the valley are ideal for experienced anglers. Tracey Minkin, Southern Living, "Plan Your Best Vacation Ever," 9 Mar. 2021

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

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Meander.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 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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