from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To move about without a definite destination or purpose.
  • intransitive v. To go by an indirect route or at no set pace; amble: wander toward town.
  • intransitive v. To proceed in an irregular course; meander.
  • intransitive v. To go astray: wander from the path of righteousness.
  • intransitive v. To lose clarity or coherence of thought or expression.
  • transitive v. To wander across or through: wander the forests and fields.
  • n. The act or an instance of wandering; a stroll.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To move without purpose; often in search of livelihood.
  • v. To stray; stray from one's course; err.
  • v. To commit adultery.
  • v. To go somewhere indirectly or at varying speeds; to move in a curved path.
  • v. Of the mind, to lose focus or clarity of argument or attention.
  • n. The act or instance of wandering.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To ramble here and there without any certain course or with no definite object in view; to range about; to stroll; to rove.
  • intransitive v. To go away; to depart; to stray off; to deviate; to go astray.
  • intransitive v. To be delirious; not to be under the guidance of reason; to rave.
  • transitive v. To travel over without a certain course; to traverse; to stroll through.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In physical chemistry, to move hither and thither in every direction: said of the molecules of a liquid or of the molecules of two miscible liquids in contact with each other.
  • To ramble with out, or as if without, any certain course or object in view; travel or move from place to place; range about; roam; rove; stroll; stray.
  • To leave home or a settled place of abode; depart; migrate.
  • To depart from any settled course; go astray, as from the paths of duty; stray; de viate; err.
  • To lose one's way; be lost.
  • To think or speak incoherently; rave; be de lirious.
  • Synonyms 1-3. Roam, Rove, etc. (see ramble), straggle.
  • Swerve, digress.
  • To travel over without a cer tain course; stroll through; traverse.
  • To lead astray; cause to lose the way or become lost.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to move or cause to move in a sinuous, spiral, or circular course
  • v. move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
  • v. lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking
  • v. be sexually unfaithful to one's partner in marriage
  • v. go via an indirect route or at no set pace


Middle English wanderen, from Old English wandrian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English wandren, wandrien, from Old English wandrian ("to wander, roam, fly around, hover; change; stray, err"), from Proto-Germanic *wandrōnan (“to wander”), from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (“to turn, wind”), equivalent to wend +‎ -er (frequentative suffix). Cognate with Scots wander ("to wander"), German wandern ("to wander, roam, migrate"), Swedish vandra ("to wander, hike"). (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Heehee!

    December 22, 2008

  • I wonder as I wander out into the mall
    What I shall buy Jenny and Brian and all
    Something unique, yes, but something that's small
    I wonder as I wander out into the mall

    I really should've done this a full month ago
    It's so hard to shop when we're moving so slow
    And where's the inspiration I just do not know
    I really should've done this a full month ago

    A Shopping Carol, with apologies to John Jacob Niles

    December 21, 2008

  • Have you seen that movie, A Fish Called Wander?

    March 25, 2008

  • maybe all that futzing will pay off!

    March 25, 2008

  • "To move among one's resources, being receptive to alternative sources and new search ideas triggered by the materials that come into view. In our field … one may hypothesis that to WANDER promotes serendipity and enables useful sources that would not otherwise be discovered."

    -Bates, 1979a

    March 25, 2008

  • This will be the name of my first child.

    March 25, 2008