wander

verb
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 Our minds wander and weave through misty ideas and impressions, never fully landing on anything of clarity. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for December 13, 2020," 13 Dec. 2020 The novel gets going when Paras’ curiosity prompts her to nudge an unlocked gate and wander off. Los Angeles Times, "For Jane Smiley in the year 2020, tough times call for furry tales," 3 Dec. 2020 The process hasn't been without controversy for an executive known to deliver long lessons and wander off topic. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Bill Ford: We have to keep work-at-home healthy for employees," 6 Aug. 2020 Barry Odom didn’t wander far after he was fired by as the head coach of the Tigers late last year, accepting a job as the defensive coordinator under new Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Arkansas-Missouri live stream (12/5): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 5 Dec. 2020 No fiction writer would dare to have an intruder dodge multiple guards, find an open window, wander around a palace drinking wine, and then saunter out again, only to return weeks later and surprise the Queen in bed. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Crown’s Majestic Untruths," 5 Dec. 2020 Across the street, wander the 670-acre Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park (4600 N. Meridian Road in Tallahassee), which gives hikers and trail runners the chance to experience more than 7 miles of dedicated footpaths. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Trailahassee: Bike, hike, paddle and drive North Florida’s hundreds of trails," 2 Dec. 2020 On weekends in December, carolers and elves will wander downtown, and free carriage rides will be available. Matt Mckinney, Star Tribune, "With rink, ice maze, ice-cream social, Stillwater hopes to light up pandemic winter," 1 Dec. 2020 People liable to turn up in jail, or known to wander off. Washington Post, "‘There wasn’t any cooperation’," 4 Dec. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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

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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Comments on wander

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