Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To follow a winding and turning course: Streams tend to meander through level land.
  • intransitive v. To move aimlessly and idly without fixed direction: vagabonds meandering through life. See Synonyms at wander.
  • n. Circuitous windings or sinuosities, as of a stream or path.
  • n. A circuitous journey or excursion; ramble. Often used in the plural.
  • n. An ornamental pattern of winding or intertwining lines, used in art and architecture.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A winding, crooked, or involved course; as, the meanders of an old river.
  • n. A tortuous or intricate movement.
  • n. Fretwork.
  • n. A self-avoiding closed curve which intersects a line a number of times.
  • v. To wind, turn, or twist; to make flexuous; to wander

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A winding, crooked, or involved course.
  • n. A tortuous or intricate movement.
  • n. Fretwork. See Fret.
  • transitive v. To wind, turn, or twist; to make flexuous.
  • intransitive v. To wind or turn in a course or passage; to be intricate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A winding course; a winding or turning in a passage; a maze; a labyrinth.
  • n. An ornament composed of lines, neither representing nor suggesting any definite object, forming right or oblique angles with one another, or even curved with interlacings, etc. The name is used especially for the fret- or key-ornament.
  • n. A path on which the directions, distances, and elevations are noted, as a part of a survey of a country.
  • To wind, turn, or flow round.
  • To form into meanders; cause to twist about.
  • To proceed by winding and turning; make frequent changes of course; move or flow intricately: as, a meandering river; to meander from point to point in a walk.
  • To make a rough survey of a country by going over it, measuring the bearings, distances, and changes of elevation of the path pursued, and noting the positions of neighboring topographical features.
  • n. In physical geography, a self-developed river-curve suitable to the volume of the stream.

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
  • n. an aimless amble on a winding course
  • n. a bend or curve, as in a stream or river

Etymologies

From Latin maeander, circuitous windings, from Greek maiandros, after Maiandros , the Maeander River in Phrygia, noted for its windings.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Near the west coast of Asia Minor, a river named Meander, the river from which the word meander is coined, spills into a dismal swampy plain in the country that today is Turkey.

    Euclid’s Window

  • The river was notable for its wandering course hence our modern term meander and in time it would silt up the entire bay between Priene and Miletus.

    Alexander the Great

  • The word meander derives via Greek from the name of this river in the antiquity, Maiandros.

    Archive 2006-02-01

  • Though it did mean that I did a couple of placemats - I made up 8 or so of these from scrap pairs which I've been using as enders and leaders - I thought I'd practice some of the 72 ways not to stipple or meander from the new Dijanne Cevaal book I got - the placemat on left is actually from the other day and has a leaf type meander, the one on the right has a "paisley" design - wavy lines, with straight lines and dots down the middle.

    Placemats & stuff

  • Instead, the Grand Canyon has a winding course called an entrenched meander from the Latin maendere, “to wander”.

    The Source

  • The lower property boundary was described as the meander line, or upper portion, of the original lake.

    Kitsap Sun Stories

  • You applied the wrong definition of the word "meander".

    On Stream Rights In Utah

  • Occasionally, he will ask them to kind of meander over to where the crowd is and fire into the air.

    CNN Transcript Jan 18, 2010

  • The storm is expected to weaken and kind of meander quite a bit.

    CNN Transcript Nov 9, 2008

  • A comment I got the other day slammed me for being confusing with my flashbacks--yep, I admit, I meander one of my favorite streets in my hometown was Meander Lane, though it was many years later when I learned what "meander" meant.

    Russia Will Attack Israel Soon

Comments

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  • How did Thales cross the meander? The first pre-Socratic 'why did the chicken cross the road? ' philosophic question.

    Look at what it has wrought (geworht)!

    September 17, 2012

  • Also the name of a river (and valley and town) in Tasmania, Australia. Furthermore, Tasmanian choreographer Graeme Murphy created a ballet called Meander (music by Sibelius).

    March 23, 2009

  • Named for a river in what is now Turkey.

    Wiki sez:

    The term derives from the river known to the ancient Greeks as (Μαίανδ�?ος) Maiandros or Maeander, characterised by a very convoluted path along the lower reach. As such, even in Classical Greece the name of the river had become a common noun meaning anything convoluted and winding, such as decorative patterns or speech and ideas, as well as the geomorphological feature. Strabo said: "... its course is so exceedingly winding that everything winding is called meandering."

    The Meander River is located in present-day Turkey, south of Izmir, eastward the ancient Greek town of Miletus, now Turkish Milet. It flows through a graben in the Menderes Massif, but has a flood plain much wider than the meander zone in its lower reach. In the Turkish name, the Büyük Menderes River, Menderes is from "Meander".

    October 14, 2008

  • To follow a winding and turning, seemingly random or chaotic course. Curvatious windings or sinuosities, as of a stream or path. May refer, in Greek art and architecture, to a fret or key pattern. Meanders are among the ten classes of patterns. (From ArtLex)

    June 5, 2008