wan·​der·​lust | \ˈwän-dər-ˌləst \

Definition of wanderlust 

: strong longing for or impulse toward wandering

Keep scrolling for more

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 lust (or "desire") for wandering. The word comes from German, in which wandern means "to wander," and Lust means "desire."

Examples of wanderlust in a Sentence

Wanderlust has led him to many different parts of the world.

Recent Examples on the Web

Those born with natal planets in the Ninth House are extremely curious and inquisitive, with deep-rooted wanderlust. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 Pierpaolo Piccioli doesn’t need a far-off bit of wanderlust, thank you. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "At Valentino, Fantasy Meets Reality for Spring 2019," 1 Oct. 2018 With a Twist Beach waves are one thing, but next season's wanderlust comes courtesy of hair styled to playful perfection—after all, what's more fresh than seeming straight off a day of outdoor revelry? Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "The 6 Beauty Trends That Stole Our Hearts at New York Fashion Week," 13 Sep. 2018 Fueled by wanderlust, these archers can be found traversing all corners of the world on thrill-seeking expeditions. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The Personality of a Sagittarius, Explained," 2 Feb. 2018 Click through to check out the movies that will surely inspire a serious case of wanderlust. refinery29.com, "Movies That Inspire Wanderlust, For When You Desperately Need A Vacation," 28 June 2018 See below for the wanderlust-inducing photos from the book. Kathleen Knowles & Aerin Reed, Town & Country, "Inside Carlos Souza and Charlene Shorto de Ganay's Portugal Paradise," 26 June 2018 From the dramatic to the idyllic, Hawaii’s landscapes awe and inspire us—and fuel our wanderlust. Sunset, "test APost," 22 Jan. 2018 The magnetized case and wanderlust-y packaging also got praises around the Glamour office. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "Urban Decay's Born to Run Palette Is as Perfect for Summer as It Gets," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wanderlust.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of wanderlust

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wanderlust

German, from wandern to wander + Lust desire, pleasure

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wanderlust

Share wanderlust

Listen to Our Podcast about wanderlust

Statistics for wanderlust

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wanderlust

The first known use of wanderlust was in 1875

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wanderlust



English Language Learners Definition of wanderlust

: a strong desire to travel

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wanderlust

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wanderlust

Spanish Central: Translation of wanderlust

Nglish: Translation of wanderlust for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wanderlust

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


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!