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

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 Following this introductory experience, guests are invited to wander the Row and observe craftspeople at work on the East side of the street and view additional installations hosted on the West side. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, "A New Exhibition on Savile Row Offers a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Bespoke Suitmaking," 19 Apr. 2021 At the same time, realize that the drone could wander around and glean a likely wider swath of data. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Bird’s-Eye View To Provide Self-Driving Cars With Some Needed Computational Omnipresence," 19 Apr. 2021 For generations, researchers have struggled to follow the elusive predators after the snow melts, when the animals split away from their packs to wander or to hunker down in the thick undergrowth of the northern Minnesota woods. Greg Stanley, Star Tribune, "First collar video from wild Minnesota wolf shows fishing skills, adaptability," 14 Apr. 2021 As a buoy bell clangs in the near distance, visitors are free to wander around at their own pace (masked and socially distanced, of course). Jordan Kushins, National Geographic, "Alcatraz’s gardens are flourishing, against all odds," 5 Nov. 2020 During the preview, users will wander through a virtual environment inspired by the museum’s ornate 19th-century building, reports Aimée McLaughlin for Creative Review. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Venture Down a VR Rabbit Hole With This Free ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Tour," 1 Oct. 2020 One or two people start a thread in Slack, and everyone else watches the conversation wander off into the forest. Dave Macleod, Forbes, "From A Cascade Mindset To A Networked One," 12 Apr. 2021 Adults spend as much as 47 percent of their waking lives letting their minds wander, according to one Harvard study that tracked participants with an app. New York Times, "Don’t Take Your Head Out of the Clouds!," 10 Apr. 2021 So much of the film turns on such evocative inexactitude, on our ability to wonder (and wander) about the image. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, "The First Masterpiece of 2021 Is Here," 7 Apr. 2021

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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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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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 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

Choose the Right Synonym for wander

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.

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