From Middle English wandren, wandrien, from Old English wandrian (“to wander, roam, fly around, hover; change; stray, err”), from Proto-Germanic *wandrōną (“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, hike, migrate”), Swedish vandra (“to wander, hike”).
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈwɑndɚ/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈwɒndə/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒndə(ɹ)
- Hyphenation: wan‧der
- (intransitive) To move without purpose or specified destination; often in search of livelihood.
to wander over the fields
- Bible, Hebrews xi.37:
- They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins.
1907, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “chapter IX”, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 4241346:
- “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; […]. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, and from time to time squinting sideways, as usual, in the ever-renewed expectation that he might catch a glimpse of his stiff, retroussé moustache.
1915, George A. Birmingham, “chapter I”, in Gossamer (Project Gutenberg; EBook #24394), London: Methuen & Co., published 8 January 2013 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 558189256:
- There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy. […] Stewards, carrying cabin trunks, swarm in the corridors. Passengers wander restlessly about or hurry, with futile energy, from place to place.
- (intransitive) To stray; stray from one's course; err.
A writer wanders from his subject.
- (intransitive) To commit adultery.
- (intransitive) To go somewhere indirectly or at varying speeds; to move in a curved path.
- (intransitive) Of the mind, to lose focus or clarity of argument or attention.
- (move without purpose): err, roam
- (commit adultery): cheat
- (go somewhere indirectly):
- (lose focus): drift
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wander (plural wanders)
- The act or instance of wandering.
- To go for a wander