roamed; roaming; roams

intransitive verb

: to go from place to place without purpose or direction : wander
: to travel purposefully unhindered through a wide area
cattle roaming in search of water
: to use a cellular phone outside one's local calling area
roaming charges

transitive verb

: to range or wander over
roam noun
roamer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for roam

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 roam in a Sentence

The cattle roamed in search of water. Goats roam free on the mountain. He roamed about in search of work. The chickens are able to roam around freely in the farmyard. We roamed around town for a while before dinner. She liked to roam through the woods. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The epics were originally performed by itinerant singers who roamed ancient Greece, entertaining guests at social gatherings. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Turkey, Paw Paw, Strawberry, Raccoon, and Mistletoe were all named for the vibrant populations that grew or roamed there. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, 8 Sep. 2023 One, nicknamed El Jefe (The Boss) by Tucson schoolchildren, famously roamed just north of Patagonia in the Santa Ritas for several years before turning south toward Sonora, Mexico, where he was photographed last year. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 8 Sep. 2023 Around 150 million years ago, a bird-like dinosaur with very long legs roamed around a swampy area in what is today southeast China. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Sep. 2023 Zach Archer roams the secondary at safety while the DL is manned by CJ Wyatt and Nic Gagliano. Dennis Victory, al, 5 Sep. 2023 Men who participate roam around like young JFK Jr.'s in billowy white shirts. Isiah Magsino, Town & Country, 3 Sep. 2023 Some have even spotted a woman in white roaming the halls. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 27 Aug. 2023 Residents living in the area told WABC that people were aware of plenty of bears roaming around the area, but had not previously heard of anyone getting attacked. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English romen

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of roam was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near roam

Cite this Entry

“Roam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to go or go over from place to place without a plan
roam the hills
cattle roaming in search of water
: to use a cell phone outside one's local calling area
roamer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on roam

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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