1 of 2


wan·​der·​ing ˈwän-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce wandering (audio)
: characterized by aimless, slow, or pointless movement: such as
: that winds or meanders
a wandering course
: not keeping a rational or sensible course : vagrant
: nomadic
wandering tribes
of a plant : having long runners or tendrils


2 of 2


: a going about from place to place
often used in plural
: movement away from the proper, normal, or usual course or place
often used in plural

Example Sentences

Adjective 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
It’s dotted with art installations, succulents and the occasional wandering cat. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Mar. 2023 He was born a hundred years ago in Cuba, the eldest son of a wandering Italian botanist and her agronomist husband. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2023 The supervisor had found a wandering pet tortoise, named Seashell, in the same area in August 2021 and had reunited it with its owners. Marc Duvoisin, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Mar. 2023 The Ukrainian tank crew that prayed before each battle nicknamed their tank The Wanderer, for its wandering movements around the battlefield. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, 1 Mar. 2023 That river was a wandering, seasonal thing that played peekaboo, trickling through a braided network of little streams and existing springs. Patt Morrisoncolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2023 If Rufo represented a modern, media-savvy social conservatism, then Speir embodied a more atavistic traditionalism, both more wandering and more truculent. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2023 This idea is explored at length in a wandering and wonderful Tim Ferris conversation with Balaji. Tom Vander Ark, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021
For this reason, Rome is a wonderful place for wide eyed wandering, and a stroll through town is a walk-through Western history. Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 3 May 2023 But as the rest of us congregated downstairs to make purchases, Sridej told me about his late-night wandering. Julia Carmel, Los Angeles Times, 19 Apr. 2023 Bent grass tells of a bear’s quiet wandering. Peter Mcbride, National Geographic, 20 Oct. 2020 A lot of the restaurants and bars on King Street were closed for the holidays, but after a bit of wandering, the two found a Chinese restaurant with open doors. Francesca Street, CNN, 28 Dec. 2021 Prepared to be shocked at what Apple and Google know about your wanderings. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2023 The first time, Tom compares Logan’s wandering of the ATN newsroom floor to the threat of nuclear war. Emily St. James, Vulture, 2 Apr. 2023 There is also a literal wandering ghost: One of the family’s youngest siblings gives a first-person account from the limbo where their souls are stuck. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 2023 Without judgment, his wandering is an observation, a testimony to a stasis that is not only physical but also ontological, where the only sign of transformation is the faces of the adolescents on whom Clavarino’s camera rests—unconsciously or not—very often. Rica Cerbarano, Vogue, 29 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near wandering

Cite this Entry

“Wandering.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wandering. Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
wan·​der·​ing ˈwän-də-riŋ How to pronounce wandering (audio)
: floating
a wandering spleen


2 of 2 noun
: movement of a tooth out of its normal position especially as a result of periodontal disease

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