Definition of wander in English:

Share this entry


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
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.