Definition of wander in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwɒndə/


[no object]
1 [with adverbial of direction] Walk or move in a leisurely or aimless way: I wandered through the narrow streets
More example sentences
  • Serious traffic accidents were narrowly avoided as numerous motorists were forced to swerve to avoid the animals that were wandering along the main road at Fossa.
  • We turned a corner of the road and wandered down another street much the same as the others.
  • He wandered on down the road, tears streaming down his cheeks, the questions whirling in his brain.
stroll, amble, saunter, walk, dawdle, potter, ramble, maunder, meander;
roam, rove, range, knock about/around, drift, coast, gallivant, gad about, prowl, mill about/around/round;
trek, trudge, stretch one's legs;
Scottish & Irish  stravaig
informal traipse, mosey, tootle
British informal mooch, bimble
rare peregrinate
1.1 [with object] Travel aimlessly through or over (an area): he found her wandering the streets
More example sentences
  • While wandering the area you can explore the Tipi maze, petting zoo, live music, and pumpkin patch.
  • He wandered the seedy areas with his eyes wide open and his camera at the ready.
  • When he's not here, I often see him just wandering the area.
travelling, rambling, roaming, roving, journeying, drifting, itinerant, floating, wayfaring, voyaging, touring;
peripatetic, unsettled, rootless, restless, on the move, on the go, on the wing;
nomadic, gypsy, Romany;
vagabond, vagrant, migrant, migratory, migrating, transient, homeless, displaced
archaic errant
1.2(Of a road or river) meander: the narrow road wanders along the foreshore
meander, wind, twist, turn, curve, zigzag, bend, snake, worm
2Move slowly away from a fixed point or place: please don’t wander off again figurative his attention had wandered
More example sentences
  • The company ate their food and began to slowly in little groups wander off outside the cave.
  • As we lay down in our sleeping bags, we slowly let our minds wander off and let our thoughts seek peace.
  • His attention's always seeking to wander off: it's only in a crisis that he feels he is where he wants to be.
stray, depart, diverge, veer, swerve, deviate, digress, vary, drift, get separated, get sidetracked, go wool-gathering
rare divagate
get lost, lose one's way, go off course, lose one's bearings, go astray, go off at a tangent
3Be unfaithful to one’s regular sexual partner: he had married her and he was not going to be allowed to wander
More example sentences
  • Before contraception, many people did not feel they could wander from relationship to relationship and so they worked on the one they had, they made an effort.
  • They expect the spark to be everlasting, they expect eyes to never wander, etc.


An act or instance of wandering: she’d go on wanders like that in her nightgown
More example sentences
  • We got off at the south end of the loop and had a wander around breathing the place in, before heading for the art institute.
  • So before I go have a wander over for a visit, here are some linky dinks.
  • Then, when I get back I'll be house sitting up in Paekakariki - so drop me an email if you want to come and visit for lunch and a wander on the beach.
stroll, amble, saunter, walk, roam, meander, dawdle, potter, ramble;
gallivant, prowl, drift, maunder, promenade, constitutional;
turn, breather, airing, trek, trudge
informal traipse, mosey, tootle
British informal mooch
rare perambulation, peregrination


Old English wandrian, of West Germanic origin; related to wend and wind2.

  • wand from Middle English:

    A word from Old Norse, and related to wend (Old English) and wind (Old English) ‘to move in a twisting way’—the basic idea seems to be of a supple, flexible stick. Wand did not have any connection with wizards and spells until about 1400, some 200 years after it was first used. Wander (Old English), ‘to move in a leisurely or aimless way’, comes from a similar root.

Words that rhyme with wander

absconder, anaconda, Fonda, Golconda, Honda, nonda, ponder, responder, squander, Wanda, yonder

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wan¦der

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