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verb (1)

roved; roving

intransitive verb

: to move aimlessly : roam

transitive verb

: to wander through or over


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noun (1)

: an act or instance of wandering


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past tense and past participle of reeve


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verb (2)

roved; roving

transitive verb

: to join (textile fibers) with a slight twist and draw out into roving


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: roving
Choose the Right Synonym for rove

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 rove in a Sentence

Verb (1) buffalo roving over the vast plains
Recent Examples on the Web
Abu Hamdan remembers going with a friend to Manifesta 7, a roving art biennial, in Italy. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 15 July 2024 The result is an exploratory, impressionistic book that roves across memoir, portraiture and cultural meditation. Meara Sharma, Washington Post, 9 July 2024 Her family sits outside in the afternoons and seeks relief in the shadow of her home, moving seats around the house to hide from the roving sun. Ashley Killough, CNN, 3 July 2024 In the summer, a roving band of kids played on the sidewalks and yards, with a feeling that everyone had their eye on them. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for rove 

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

Word History


Verb (1)

earlier, to shoot at random, wander, of unknown origin

Verb (2)

origin unknown

First Known Use

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (1)

circa 1550, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1782, in the meaning defined above


1789, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rove was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near rove

Cite this Entry

“Rove.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


roved; roving

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