wander

verb
wan·​der | \ ˈwän-dər How to pronounce wander (audio) \
wandered; wandering\ ˈwän-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce wandering (audio) \

Definition of wander

intransitive verb

1a : to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal
b : to go idly about : ramble wandering around the house
2 : to follow a winding course : meander
3a : to go astray (as from a course) : stray wandered away from the group
b : to go astray morally : err
c : to lose normal mental contact : stray in thought his mind wandered

transitive verb

: to roam over wandered the halls

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Other Words from wander

wander noun
wanderer \ ˈwän-​dər-​ər How to pronounce wanderer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wander

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

wander, roam, and ramble mean to move about from place to place without a reason or plan. wander is used for moving about without following a fixed course. The tribes wandered in the desert for forty years. roam is used for the carefree act of wandering over a wide area often for the sake of enjoyment. I roamed over the hills and through the meadows. ramble is used for wandering in a careless way. Horses rambled over the open range.

Examples of wander in a Sentence

I was just wandering around the house. They wandered down the street. Students were wandering the halls. He wandered away from the trail and got lost.
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Recent Examples on the Web Bong wandered through the season with his camera in tow, documenting his unlikely journey and returning some joy and excitement to a process that has been overrun with cynicism and commercialism. Nicole Sperling, New York Times, "Oscar Triumph for ‘Parasite’ Reflects Academy’s Evolving Identity," 10 Feb. 2020 Of the several sketchy routes that wander through the area, the most popular and easiest to follow is the Spring Valley Trail. Jill Cassidy, azcentral, "Hells Canyon Wilderness hike near Phoenix feels a million miles away. Here's how to do it," 7 Feb. 2020 More than 1,750 volunteers for the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance wandered through neighborhoods Jan. 23 for the Point-in-Time homeless count, mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for cities across the country. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Emergency shelter for homeless moves to Dallas public library basement," 5 Feb. 2020 The dog wandered through the backyard down to the river behind the house. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Firefighters rescue dog from icy river in Glendale," 22 Jan. 2020 Think of wandering through Times Square as a child or dancing to loud music at a bar. Washington Post, "City noise supercharged my anxiety. It was nature sounds that saved me.," 20 Jan. 2020 The journalist had the luck (good and bad) of wandering through Afghanistan weeks after the Taliban was deposed. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 87 Greatest Travel Books of All Time, According to Authors," 8 Jan. 2020 Just wandering through fields of flowers with the family. Kat Bein, Billboard, "The Year in Diplo Photos," 30 Dec. 2019 Ban’s thoughts splinter and loop as his mind wanders through history. The Atlantic, "The 15 Best Books of 2019," 24 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wander.' 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 wander

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for wander

Middle English wandren, from Old English wandrian; akin to Middle High German wandern to wander, Old English windan to wind, twist

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Learn More about wander

Time Traveler for wander

Time Traveler

The first known use of wander was before the 12th century

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Statistics for wander

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for wander

wander

verb
How to pronounce wander (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wander

: to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction
: to follow a path with many turns
: to go away from a path, course, etc.

wander

verb
wan·​der | \ ˈwän-dər How to pronounce wander (audio) \
wandered; wandering

Kids Definition of wander

1 : to move about without a goal or purpose : ramble
2 : to get off the right path or leave the right area : stray “She would never wander far away alone … you know how timid she is.”— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
3 : to lose concentration My mind began to wander.
4 : to follow a winding course The path wanders through the woods.

Other Words from wander

wanderer noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on wander

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wander

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wander

Spanish Central: Translation of wander

Nglish: Translation of wander for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wander for Arabic Speakers

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