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

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: Adjective And the team found that artificial traps with feathers around them captured more wandering arthropods than those without. Joshua Rapp Learn, Scientific American, "Brazilian Ants Build Unusual Trap for Bugs," 8 Nov. 2019 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 For older patients, this can lead to confusion and unnecessary wandering, accompanied by pain, fatigue and annoyance. Judith Graham, chicagotribune.com, "In search of age-friendly health care, finding room for improvement," 24 Sep. 2019 Diehl has a somber strength, but his Franz is a bit of a cipher, a sibling to the wandering moodboards played by Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling in Malick’s modern-romance trilogy. Darren Franich, EW.com, "A Hidden Life is the full Terrence Malick experience, vital even when it's glacial: Review," 12 Dec. 2019 The note helped the library staff make sense of a recent trend of strange book wanderings. BostonGlobe.com, "For decades, Coeur d’Alene has navigated a delicate political landscape in northern Idaho, a conservative corner of the country where some have sought refuge from political and social changes elsewhere.," 11 Nov. 2019 The note helped the library staff make sense of a recent trend of strange book wanderings. Mike Baker, New York Times, "Whodunit in the Library: Someone Keeps Hiding the Anti-Trump Books," 10 Nov. 2019 The sleeper – which costs several thousand dollars – functions like a tent that zips from the outside, preventing wandering and reducing stimuli to help with sleep. Hannah K. Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "Wish List: 3-year-old needs a safe place to sleep," 26 Nov. 2019 Mandalorians are, apparently, some sort of diaspora race, a Tribe wandering after a Great Purge. Darren Franich, EW.com, "The Mandalorian wants to be your family-friendly ultraviolent Star Wars," 12 Nov. 2019 My family gradually noticed my mother-in-law’s declining memory, wandering and confusion in the late 2000s, and, in 2009, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Maria C. Carrillo, Time, "We Will Find a Breakthrough for Alzheimer's Disease," 24 Oct. 2019 This kind of wandering ministry, or small, independent church, has a history in the culture of the South, or brings to mind figures like, say, Father Divine. David Wallace, The New Yorker, "Tiphanie Yanique on the Necessity of the Spirit," 28 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for wandering

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Wandering.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wandering?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=w&file=wander20. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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

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


dull or mediocre

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