wan·​der·​lust ˈwän-dər-ˌləst How to pronounce wanderlust (audio)
: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering

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Wanderlust Has German Roots

"For my part," writes Robert Louis Stevenson in Travels with a Donkey, "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Sounds like a case of wanderlust if we ever heard one. Those with wanderlust don't necessarily need to go anywhere in particular; they just don't care to stay in one spot. The etymology of wanderlust is a very simple one that you can probably figure out yourself. Wanderlust is a lust for wandering. The word comes from German, in which wandern means "to hike or roam about," and Lust means "pleasure or delight."

Examples of wanderlust in a Sentence

Wanderlust has led him to many different parts of the world.
Recent Examples on the Web That’s notably higher than the 40% who confessed those same ambitions in 2021 and could come as a surprise to many employers who thought this corporate wanderlust had ended months ago. Chris Morris, Fortune, 9 May 2024 Endless Ocean Luminous often feels like the early days of No Man’s Sky, a charming title that inspires strong wanderlust but lacks the substance to support the chill vibe. PCMAG, 30 Apr. 2024 There’s her propensity to withdraw; there’s also a kind of counterbalancing wanderlust. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 So, if crisp clothing is non-negotiable when your wanderlust kicks in, this ironing mat will make an excellent travel companion—apartment dwellers may also want to take note. Sharon Brandwein, Southern Living, 6 Feb. 2024 But after working for 26 years in the same Texas county, the wanderlust became too difficult to ignore. Matt Kirouac, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Mar. 2024 But Flynn's passion for the banjo, for being around music-minded people, for hiking in Ireland's woods − and crawling out on its precarious cliffs − rekindled the wanderlust in all of us. Lori Nickel, Journal Sentinel, 7 Mar. 2024 Wrap Up Whether running errands or walking red carpets, the wanderlust spirit of bohemian style can easily align with celebrity aesthetics. Hilary Tetenbaum, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2024 Before long, Sasha, in his forlorn wanderlust, has split up with Zakhar and fallen in with a fellow-Bolshevik named Stepan Kopionkin. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


German, from wandern to wander + Lust desire, pleasure

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wanderlust was in 1875


Dictionary Entries Near wanderlust

Cite this Entry

“Wanderlust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wanderlust. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


wan·​der·​lust ˈwän-dər-ˌləst How to pronounce wanderlust (audio)
: strong longing to travel

More from Merriam-Webster on wanderlust

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