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Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To walk at a leisurely pace; stroll.
  • n. A leisurely pace.
  • n. A leisurely walk or stroll.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To stroll, or walk at a leisurely pace
  • n. A leisurely walk or stroll.
  • n. A leisurely pace.
  • n. A place for sauntering or strolling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To wander or walk about idly and in a leisurely or lazy manner; to lounge; to stroll; to loiter.
  • n. A sauntering, or a sauntering place.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To venture (?). See sauntering, 1.
  • To hesitate (?).
  • To wander idly or loiteringly; move or walk in a leisurely, listless, or undecided way; loiter; lounge; stroll.
  • To dawdle; idle; loiter over a thing.
  • Synonyms Stroll, Stray, etc. See ramble, v.
  • n. A stroll; a leisurely ramble or walk.
  • n. A leisurely, careless gait.
  • n. A sauntering-place; a loitering- or strolling-place.

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

  • v. walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
  • n. a leisurely walk (usually in some public place)
  • n. a careless leisurely gait

Etymologies

Probably from Middle English santren, to muse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Etymology unclear. In sense “to stroll”, attested 1660s; noun sense “a stroll” attested 1828. Perhaps from earlier term meaning “to muse”, late 15th century, from Middle English santren, of Unknown origin.[1] Alternatively, from Anglo-Norman sauntrer (mid 14th century), from French s'aventurer ("to take risks"), but this is considered unlikely;[2] compare Middle English aunter ("adventure").[3] May be of Germanic origin, with proposed cognates being German schlendern, Danish slentre, Swedish slentra, Icelandic slentr, all meaning “to stroll“.[4] Various fanciful folk etymologies also given.[5][6] (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Jason Dufner's walk defines the word 'saunter,'" Graeme McDowell tweeted.

    CNN.com

  • Sax liked Thoreau's explanation for the word saunter: from à la Sainte Terre, describing pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land.

    languagehat.com: SAUNTER.

  • The word saunter, like many others, can't be traced back very far (AHD: Probably from Middle English santren, to muse), but of course that doesn't stop people from trying, and this word has a particularly enjoyable pseudo-etymology, discussed in the following typically piquant passage from one of the stories in Kim Stanley Robinson's The Martians (a book I recommend to anyone who likes thoughtful, human-oriented science fiction):Long walks around Odessa at the end of the day.

    languagehat.com: SAUNTER.

  • To take a walk is to vegetate; to saunter is to live.

    The Physiology of Marriage, Part 1

  • (He had gotten 'saunter' from listening to Daddy's character, the "cool guy," No Way Jose.) 1 comment | Leave a comment

    How do you saunter?

  • As opposed to the guy who sits in the same spot every day asking for a hand-out, the bum [from the German for "saunter"] roams freely throughout the city, the country, the planet: He is king of the road.

    Boing Boing

  • She's the poster child for the word "saunter" and her curvy, busty frame totally gives the finger to heroin chic while completely oozing sex appeal.

    The Girl I WANT To Be

  • He'd always walk up to his airplane in a kind of saunter, devil may care saunter, flick the cigarette away, grab the girl waiting here, give her a kiss.

    Niels Diffrient rethinks the way we sit down

  • By the way -- very much by the way -- I don't know whether many of us know that the word 'saunter' that we use comes to us from the Crusades to the Holy Land.

    The Romance of Constantinople

  • So the word 'saunter' with its modern significance comes from the old days of the Crusades.

    The Romance of Constantinople

Comments

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  • Interesting citation at saunterer.

    October 6, 2009

  • This word takes me back to summers in the 1980s, watching Test match special. Jim Laker intones: 'Here comes Viv Richards, sauntering to the wicket'. The word captures Viv's relaxed disdain for the people who would bowl at him.

    December 14, 2006