wan·​der·​ing | \ˈwän-d(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of wandering 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: characterized by aimless, slow, or pointless movement: such as

a : that winds or meanders a wandering course

b : not keeping a rational or sensible course : vagrant

c : nomadic wandering tribes

d of a plant : having long runners or tendrils



Definition of wandering (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a going about from place to place often used in plural

2 : movement away from the proper, normal, or usual course or place often used in plural

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Examples of wandering in a Sentence


your decidedly wandering essay loses its punch—stick to one theme a wandering carnival that visited small towns all over the South

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Cormier is a storyteller who celebrates song itself and the wandering spirit that infuses folk music and the lives of many folk singers. John Adamian, courant.com, "Canadian Troubadour J.P. Cormier Coming To Hartford," 17 Mar. 2018 Numerous officers responded to find the girl’s parents after passersby reported the wandering toddler, police said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "East Hartford Police Arrest Father Of Wandering Toddler," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And when Kif holds him still and tries to gather facts, Heidl instead launches into wandering lectures on philosophy and humanity, quoting aphorisms and advising Kif on how to live his life. Olen Steinhauer, New York Times, "A Novel Based on the True Story of a Con Man and His Ghostwriter," 1 June 2018 Though now walking a familiar route home, the sensation of wandering does not abate. Leslie Kendall Dye, Longreads, "City on a Hill," 23 June 2018 Cattle egrets are rare here, but a wandering bird shows up every few years. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "You’ll have no regrets in search for egrets – and herons, too," 11 July 2018 This is a band that can sing about the related pleasures of wandering and a sense of home. John Adamian, courant.com, "Tedeschi Trucks And Jay Critch Are Just Two Of This Week's Must-See Shows," 2 July 2018 That’s how the evening passed, the first of my sobriety—with wandering and wanting and saying no. Longreads, "Trying to Kill the Want," 20 June 2018 The piano part — clearly articulated and sensitively phrased by Anne-Marie McDermott — is not overly virtuosic but delights in its unexpected wanderings. Christian Hertzog, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A rare, fiery performance of a Rebel ballet kicks off Mainly Mozart Festival," 10 June 2018 Keeping Tabs Home sensors can help in the management and treatment of Alzheimer's, tracking changes in patients' wandering, agitation and circadian rhythm, as well as monitoring for safety. Shirley S. Wang, WSJ, "For Those With Dementia, Help From Technology," 28 May 2018 This space is perfect for a dog who likes to romp and for dog owners who don’t want to worry about a wandering dog or don’t have time for a walk. Joan Walden, courant.com, "Property of the Week: 290 Mountain Spring Road, Farmington," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wandering.' 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 wandering


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for wandering

The first known use of wandering was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for wandering


wan·​der·​ing | \ˈwän-də-riŋ \

Medical Definition of wandering 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: floating a wandering spleen



Medical Definition of wandering (Entry 2 of 2)

: movement of a tooth out of its normal position especially as a result of periodontal disease

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Comments on wandering

What made you want to look up wandering? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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