wan·​der·​ing | \ ˈwän-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce wandering (audio) \

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

Donovan was born in Glasgow, Scotland and was a high school dropout and sort of wandering beach bum, according to his bio. Mike Oliver | Moliver@al.com, al, "My Vinyl Countdown gets a sweet tooth looking at the No. 1 song in 1969," 4 Aug. 2019 Little little orishas is the story of Sango, a simple-minded and defiant wandering spirit, and his gentle sister Oya. Ciku Kimeria, Quartz Africa, "The Congolese storyteller drawing on African mythology and spirituality for his comic books," 2 June 2019 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

Several sites in the country are associated with the Holy Family’s wanderings, including the Al Muharraq monastery in the Nile Valley in central Egypt. National Geographic, "Ancient Egypt gave rise to one of the world's oldest Christian faiths," 19 Apr. 2019 That’s roughly three times the size of the world’s biggest bird now alive, the wandering albatross, and about as wide as an F-16 fighter jet. NBC News, "Millions of years ago, this 'frozen dragon' flying reptile as big as a fighter jet soared over Earth," 12 Sep. 2019 Egypt was also the site of another important development in Christianity: monasticism, a practice born in the deserts of Egypt. Imitating Jesus’ wanderings in the wilderness, holy hermits underwent extreme privations to deepen their faith. National Geographic, "Ancient Egypt gave rise to one of the world's oldest Christian faiths," 19 Apr. 2019 His polar bid failed, but 3 years later the wandering pack had carried the Fram some 2000 kilometers across the Arctic to the open North Atlantic Ocean, making Nansen an international hero. Eli Kintisch, Science | AAAS, "Arctic researchers will lock this ship in ice for a year to study the changing polar region," 20 Aug. 2019 Not everything here is perfect; the musical score, by Norwegian composer John Erik Kaada, favors ambient sonic wanderings that smooth over the conflicts on screen. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Angels Are Made of Light’ review: In post-invasion Kabul, a gorgeous rumination on three brothers, in school and in turmoil," 7 Aug. 2019 Meals at Han Oak are inspired in part by Cho’s late-night wanderings through Manhattan’s vertical Korea Town, and by Bloomfield’s influence (dishes tend to be delicious, for one thing). Michael Russell, oregonlive.com, "Han Oak is a Korean sensation found inside the chef’s Northeast Portland home (2019 review)," 1 Aug. 2019 Pinori, for her part, needs to appear unceasingly relaxed, sustaining Mona Lisa’s beguiling smile and wandering eyes without revealing any other expressions on her face. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "See where Leonardo da Vinci still walks the streets," 6 June 2019 Inattention, which occurs more frequently in those affected with the disorder, likely leads to mind wandering, or the drifting of thoughts from an activity or environment. Caterina Gawrilow, Scientific American, "Are People with ADHD More Creative?," 11 June 2019

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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Statistics for wandering

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce wandering (audio) \

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

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