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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Days, weeks and sometimes months go by before elephants or giraffes or lions wander into a setting that will be transformed into a museum-quality photograph, an image meant to become a visual call to action. San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 Go solo or with companions, read or wander or take a horseback riding tour, there's a little something for everyone here. Robin Soslow, Chron, 3 May 2022 Sitting in a classroom for what felt like hours on end listening to the droning of a lecture that had no relevance to my life, it couldn’t be helped that my mind would wander. Shane Jackson, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 The best thing about cornhole is that anyone can grab a challenger and wander over to start a game. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 13 Apr. 2022 Rudy emerges, and the two of them, after posing for more photos, wander into a tavern packed with St. Patty’s Day revelers. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 The clip sees Vile glide on a skateboard and yes, wander around the woods showcasing his sense of humor. Spin Staff, SPIN, 24 Mar. 2022 To comply with environmental regulations, Latitude Margaritaville left undeveloped some patches of thicket and swamp, from which critters occasionally wander, and to which McChesney returns them. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 When random objects were placed in both the virtual and physical rooms, the virtual pairs of participants spent more time looking directly at each other rather than letting their gaze wander about the room and taking in the entire scene. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near wander

wand bearer



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Statistics for wander

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wander


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on wander

Nglish: Translation of wander for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wander for Arabic Speakers


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