wan·​der | \ˈwän-dər \
wandered; wandering\ˈwän-​d(ə-​)riŋ \

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 \ 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

While some now go to the Western-style mega-malls of Tehran's tony northern suburbs, the Grand Bazaar's narrow alleys, cramped stalls and wandering musicians still draw crowds of thousands. Jon Gambrell, Fox News, "Unease, anger in Tehran's Grand Bazaar, Iran's beating heart," 13 Sep. 2018 That Time Cole Shared Family Secrets With the World And revealed that Dylan was the wandering one. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "16 Dylan and Cole Sprouse Twitter Roasts," 4 Aug. 2018 Her novel is about sisters who let their wandering father, who abandoned them years ago, back into their lives when the terminally ill man resurfaces. Carole Goldberg, courant.com, "Storytelling Champ Matthew Dicks At RJ Julia, Psychotherapist Talks Women's Friendships," 20 June 2018 Prospector MorosNyx continued to make new dungeons, eventually crafting one that had a holy grail of a discovery: a wandering boss-type enemy in Isz, the dual-wielding Pthumerian Descendant. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Bloodborne’s most hardcore players find new secrets three years after release," 20 June 2018 Between 2008-2015, more than 7,000 reports of wandering camels were received by the Israel Police. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Knesset approves and passes life-saving 'Camel Law'," 19 June 2018 If the wandering person happens to be wearing a wristband or anklet from Project Lifesaver, the likelihood of them being found quickly increases substantially. Damar Services, Indianapolis Star, "Meet the wristband that helps first responders find missing people faster," 1 June 2018 His white mother, a wandering hippie and spiritual seeker, later converted to evangelical Christianity and denounced his father’s religious practices as demonic. New York Times, "With ‘There There,’ Tommy Orange Has Written a New Kind of American Epic," 31 May 2018 Other cultures thought that sneezing forced evil spirits out of the body, leaving others exposed to the wandering spirits. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "The Crazy Reasons Why We Say, “Bless You” When Someone Sneezes," 18 May 2018

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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Statistics for wander

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wander

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

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More Definitions for wander



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.


wan·​der | \ˈwän-dər \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wander

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wander

Spanish Central: Translation of wander

Nglish: Translation of wander for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wander for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wander

What made you want to look up wander? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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