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

Return to Paris and enjoy a free afternoon to wander the banks of the Seine, munch on macarons, or shop in elegant boutiques. National Geographic, "France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond," 17 June 2019 There’s no cost to wander the grounds and explore its museum and extensive whisky library, but a reservation is required. Hannah Lott-schwartz, Fortune, "Inside Japan’s Oldest Whisky Distillery," 16 June 2019 Stray dogs used to wander the streets, picked up only by the pound. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Country's oldest veterinary practice started in Detroit in 1844," 15 June 2019 Round preferred to wander outdoors, where passengers bundled up in jackets and sweater vests, an odd contrast to the palm trees, pools, and lounge chairs on deck. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "Forget the Bahamas. China's Cruises Are Where It's At," 10 June 2019 At the time, at least 21 of the canids were known to wander the state’s rural areas. oregonlive.com, "Oregon wildlife commissioners adopt hotly contested wolf management plan," 7 June 2019 What a joy to wander outside after writing a column, only to discover the raspberry patch has already been cleaned of last year’s canes and this year’s have been properly pruned and primed. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "I insisted on keeping a tight grip on the garden. Then I let my wife help.," 6 June 2019 Police still are investigating how the boy came to be wandering alone. Serena O'sullivan, azcentral, "Mesa police investigating why toddler was found alone," 6 June 2019 And for dog owners who work outside the home or who don’t have a fenced-in space for their pets to wander unattended, the study provided some comforting news: Canine cortisol levels did not vary as a function of either condition. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "Coming home stressed? Your dog is internalizing those bad vibes too, study suggests," 6 June 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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Statistics for wander

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

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

wander

verb

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

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

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