wander

verb
wan·​der | \ ˈwän-dər How to pronounce wander (audio) \
wandered; wandering\ ˈwän-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce wander (audio) \

Definition of wander

intransitive verb

1a : to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal
b : to go idly about : ramble wandering around the house
2 : to follow a winding course : meander
3a : to go astray (as from a course) : stray wandered away from the group
b : to go astray morally : err
c : to lose normal mental contact : stray in thought his mind wandered

transitive verb

: to roam over wandered the halls

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Other Words from wander

wander noun
wanderer \ ˈwän-​dər-​ər How to pronounce wander (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wander

wander, roam, ramble, rove, traipse, meander mean to go about from place to place usually without a plan or definite purpose. wander implies an absence of or an indifference to a fixed course. fond of wandering about the square just watching the people roam suggests wandering about freely and often far afield. liked to roam through the woods ramble stresses carelessness and indifference to one's course or objective. the speaker rambled on without ever coming to the point rove suggests vigorous and sometimes purposeful roaming. armed brigands roved over the countryside traipse implies a course that is erratic but may sometimes be purposeful. traipsed all over town looking for the right dress meander implies a winding or intricate course suggestive of aimless or listless wandering. the river meanders for miles through rich farmland

Examples of wander in a Sentence

I was just wandering around the house. They wandered down the street. Students were wandering the halls. He wandered away from the trail and got lost.
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Recent Examples on the Web Guests and staff say spirits still wander the lofty hull of this '30s-era ship, earning it the moniker of one of the most haunted hotels in America. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 17 Oct. 2021 The Civil War soldier is said to hang out around the center staircase of the old Cockey’s Tavern and wander about rearranging pictures. Kevin Dayhoff, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 16 Oct. 2021 Instead of having gig works wander out and grab scooters to take them home and charge them for a bounty, more full-time staff are just going out and swapping batteries if the scooter doesn’t need moving. Brad Templeton, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Visitors can sit behind the wheel of futuristic cars, flip through books in a pretend library, wander into a neon cathedral with a playable pipe organ, or enter a beauty salon, pizzeria or grocery store, each with its own surreal twist. New York Times, 24 Sep. 2021 Perseverance will then leave that rock collection in the crater and wander into other terrain. Ramin Skibba, Wired, 2 Sep. 2021 The animal did wander onto the highway at one point while the lanes were closed, ABC 7 reports. Michael Hollan, Fox News, 12 Aug. 2021 Some bears wander into towns to eat through garbage or nibble on seed from bird feeders. Laken Brooks, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2021 Other products that work with Sidewalk include smart locks that can be controlled by phone and wearable devices that can track people with dementia who may wander. Joseph Pisani And Matt O'brien, Chron, 9 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wander.' 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 wander

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for wander

Middle English wandren, from Old English wandrian; akin to Middle High German wandern to wander, Old English windan to wind, twist

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Learn More About wander

Time Traveler for wander

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near wander

wand bearer

wander

wandering

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wander. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for wander

wander

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wander

: to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction
: to follow a path with many turns
: to go away from a path, course, etc.

wander

verb
wan·​der | \ ˈwän-dər How to pronounce wander (audio) \
wandered; wandering

Kids Definition of wander

1 : to move about without a goal or purpose : ramble
2 : to get off the right path or leave the right area : stray "She would never wander far away alone … you know how timid she is."— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
3 : to lose concentration My mind began to wander.
4 : to follow a winding course The path wanders through the woods.

Other Words from wander

wanderer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for wander

wander, roam, and ramble mean to move about from place to place without a reason or plan. wander is used for moving about without following a fixed course. The tribes wandered in the desert for forty years. roam is used for the carefree act of wandering over a wide area often for the sake of enjoyment. I roamed over the hills and through the meadows. ramble is used for wandering in a careless way. Horses rambled over the open range.

More from Merriam-Webster on wander

Nglish: Translation of wander for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wander for Arabic Speakers

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