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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

Recent Examples on the Web
Last summer, the pair launched King BBQ as a roving pop-up with their chef de cuisine, Brandon Olson. Kate Kassin, Bon Appétit, 7 Sep. 2023 The memory of that other space consecrated her own roving tabernacle of Black performance. Carina Del Valle Schorske, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2023 The buffet, and roving carts of food from servers, feature over 100 options. Megan Wood, Travel + Leisure, 7 Aug. 2023 Its roving ground robot, aptly named Polly, moves between rows of plants and blasts pulses of air to prompt pollination. Molly Glick, Scientific American, 17 July 2023 Jim Dines, her owner, who had been roving fore and aft all day, finally had a moment to talk. William Booth, Washington Post, 24 July 2023 But even then, the visitors will ignore the warnings from the flags and roving lifeguard patrols who will alert them about staying out of the water. John Sharp |, al, 15 July 2023 In the wholesale looting that has accompanied fighting in the capital, Khartoum, a city of 5 million, a roving band of strangers surrounded him in his yard Tuesday, stabbing him to death in front of his family. Ellen Knickmeyer, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2023 Trolls, wind-up dolls, Legos, and flocks of Barbies and Kens roved the neighborhood on Thursday in the spirit of this year’s theme: Land of Toys. Elena Giardina,, 18 Aug. 2023
While the evening roves among the varied aesthetics of its contributors in a way that at times feels scattered, a consciousness of history grounds and guides it. Siobhan Burke, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2023 See More

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 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


roved; roving

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