wander

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
wander noun
wanderer 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 His songs are about wandering the countryside, acclimating to major cities, fighting Fascism, praising the best parts (and criticizing the worst aspects) of American life and struggling through life with a smile if possible. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 7 July 2024 The slower pace of summer is great for wandering through antiques and flea markets. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, 5 July 2024 Readers will not hesitate to wander into these woods. Oline H. Cogdill, Sun Sentinel, 3 July 2024 In 2015, the entire Florida House of Representatives, led by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, wandered off and went home three days early, peeved at the Senate. Pat Beall, Orlando Sentinel, 30 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for wander 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wander.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English wandren, from Old English wandrian; akin to Middle High German wandern to wander, Old English windan to wind, twist

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of wander was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near wander

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

wander

verb
wan·​der ˈwän-dər How to pronounce wander (audio)
wandered; wandering -d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce wander (audio)
1
: to move about without a purpose
2
: to follow a winding course : meander
3
a
: to get off the right course : stray
wandered away
b
: to lose one's normal mental concentration
her mind wandered
wander noun
wanderer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on wander

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