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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
Afterward, take one last meander through Midtown, where shops and still more eateries await. Amber Turpin, The Mercury News, 1 Apr. 2024 The show offers a curatorial meander across the city, bringing together in dialogue—like commuters, flâneurs, or tourists—contemporary artists and canonical modern British artworks, alongside sculptural and figure-transforming fashion designs from Anderson’s eponymous label JW Anderson and Loewe. Laura Hawkins, Vogue, 19 Sep. 2023 The prints add another element: squares of color with internal patterns, through which the bending strips meander. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2024 While the various legal maneuvers proceed in the courts and the bureaucratic endeavors meander through City Hall, the old church remains a forlorn and empty structure next to a field, parking lot and groups of vehicles on the site. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 1 Mar. 2024 Afterwards, meander over to Cocktail Kitchen to sip on happy hour specials while watching the Gap come to life from your seat on the balcony. Anna Haines, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Leave your bike outside and meander through the sloping hills covered in stubby graves, statues of veiled angels, and grand mausoleums. Francesca Carington, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Jan. 2024 Advertisement Books Sheila Heti recounts the ABCs of her evolution in new book of diary entries Feb. 5, 2024 Questions of fate and identity meander through these stories. Kate Tuttle, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2024 Love Is an Ex-country, by Randa Jarrar In this fragmented memoir that stitches together Jarrar’s many excursions through America and beyond in her 30s, the writer doesn’t so much drive as saunter across the country—sashay, roll, meander, and play around in it. Emma Copley Eisenberg, The Atlantic, 23 Jan. 2024
Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddleboarding: Explore Florida’s Water Corridors Florida’s aquatic playground extends from the expansive ocean to meandering rivers and serene lakes, offering paddlers a diverse range of experiences. Jp Shaffer, Miami Herald, 2 Apr. 2024 There’s also a restaurant and bar, an indoor/outdoor spa with five treatment rooms, infinity-edge swimming pool, a yoga pavilion, meandering pathways leading to hidden pergolas, a helipad, and per the listing, the opportunity for the new owner to add 16 more villas. Wendy Bowman, Robb Report, 26 Mar. 2024 The plan today is to meander in a loop along the Thames. Zing Tsjeng, Vogue, 20 Mar. 2024 Some 60-feet away from the cup at the back of the green, Woods sent a winding effort meandering across the grass. Jack Bantock, CNN, 13 Mar. 2024 The day continued with the Clippers meandering through so much of Saturday afternoon’s affair against the Chicago Bulls. Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times, 9 Mar. 2024 The Ultimate South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary Minneapolis, Minnesota Spend some time meandering through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which sports more than 60 pieces, before venturing over the Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. Giovanna Caravetta, Travel + Leisure, 1 Mar. 2024 For a truly epic cross-country journey, the Natchez Trace Parkway that meanders through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee offers a mix of history, scenic beauty, and southern charm. Hilary Tetenbaum, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 The urban center and its environs are home to wide-ranging accommodation options, from iconic hotels of historical and architectural significance to meandering beachside resort properties that beckon visitors with world-class golf and tennis. Alesandra Dubin, Travel + Leisure, 19 Mar. 2024

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 16 Apr. 2024.

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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