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. Alternatively, from Anglo-Norman sauntrer (mid 14th century), from Middle French s'aventurer (“to take risks”), but this is considered unlikely; compare Middle English aunter (“adventure”). May be of Germanic origin, with proposed cognates being German schlendern, Danish slentre, Swedish släntra, Icelandic slentr, all meaning “to stroll“. Various fanciful folk etymologies also given.
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈsɔntɚ/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈsɔːntə/
- (cot–caught merger, Canada) IPA(key): /ˈsɑntɚ/
- Rhymes: -ɔːntə(ɹ)
- To stroll, or walk at a leisurely pace
- One could lie under elm trees in a lawn, or saunter in meadows by the side of a stream.
saunter (plural saunters)
- A leisurely walk or stroll.
1814, Elizabeth Hervey, Amabel: Volume 1, page 53:
- Caroline […] begged that the drive might be given up for a saunter about the gardens […]
- A leisurely pace.
- (obsolete) A place for sauntering or strolling.
- That wheel of fops, that saunter of the town.
- “saunter” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.
- ^ OED
- ^ Proposed by Blackley (Word Gossip, 1869); see 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
- ^ Wedgwood; see 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
- ^ Saunter., Languagehat, July 24, 2004
- ^ In Walking, Henry David Thoreau derives it from Sainte Terre (“holy land”) or sans terre (“without land”); these are dismissed as far-fetched.