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

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 Hotel quarantine: For one engineer in Barcelona, lockdown has meant wandering the halls of a luxury hotel as its sole occupant. Isabella Kwai, New York Times, "Coronavirus Clusters, Latin America, Sweden: Your Monday Briefing," 18 May 2020 Most of Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall remains closed Shoppers at Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall wandered the complex searching for the few stores that had reopened. azcentral, "Arizona reopening: Everyday movement no longer limited as state moves into weekend," 16 May 2020 However, in a Zoom meeting, all that’s much harder to assess, and some children will get up and wander away, leaving me puzzling over their whereabouts. Brian Silveira, Wired, "How to Do Zoom Circle Time for Little Tiny Squirmy Kids," 15 May 2020 The bright yellow robot was developed by Boston Dynamics and was spotted wandering the park, occasionally making announcements to remind people to keep their distance from each other, Lonely Planet reported. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "This Robot Dog Is Encouraging People to Social Distance in Singapore," 14 May 2020 When his body finally succumbed to age, and his mind wandered away from the mound toward family, Jeremy Affeldt retired in 2015 as one of the best pitchers in postseason history. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "10 Giants from 2010: Jeremy Affeldt’s discord with Bruce Bochy, evolution to October star," 13 May 2020 My brain, exhausted by the news and craving to get out of my one-bedroom apartment, needs a story that is completely engaging and immersive to keep from wandering. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Staying Apart, Together: Get through the week with Ina's chicken, beach reads and a walk," 12 May 2020 Unfortunately, the remaining six episodes — directed by Houda Benyamina, Alan Poul and Laila Marrakchi — aren’t quite as stylish and the plot wanders away from the music as the focus, getting entangled in a rather prosaic murder mystery. Cary Darling, ExpressNews.com, "Netflix miniseries ‘The Eddy’ makes a splash with modern jazz," 7 May 2020 The video shows foxes, deer, bears and a bobcat wandering the park. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "With Humans Away, Animals in National Parks are Having a Ball," 4 May 2020

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

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for wander


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.


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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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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