Definition of meander in English:



  • 1 (of a river or road) follow a winding course.

    ‘a river that meandered gently through a meadow’
    • ‘She pointed to where the road meandered toward a small stream.’
    • ‘Its springs and mountain streams feed large aquifers and the slender Humboldt River, which meanders nearly 400 miles west from its beginnings in the northeast corner of the state.’
    • ‘The streets that he would have had to follow meandered all over town, and he could not afford to be seen.’
    • ‘The road meandered down to the pond, lined by birches on either side, to the manor house, which stood to the left of and slightly behind the house as one approached it.’
    • ‘The Inn River meanders through the countryside like an unbroken silver thread.’
    • ‘Sam's backyard was small in relative size to the field west of her house, the forest east of her house, and the river meandering through the back of the property.’
    • ‘A waterfall cascaded behind it, the tower surrounded by the pool at the foot of the falls, and a brook meandered away from it.’
    • ‘We were surrounded by the immense silence of the flat land of Atwam, where the Pit River meanders towards the sea.’
    • ‘Is it a main road or a road that meanders through many towns?’
    • ‘Great Lakes steelhead and salmon and some lake trout begin their lives in the Pere Marquette River, a pretty stream that meanders through the area on its way to Lake Michigan.’
    • ‘Beyond, the Endeavour River meanders serpentine-fashion to the ocean.’
    • ‘Ali led the way to a place where the river meandered away from the road, looping around a tall stand of deciduous forest that stood alone like an island.’
    • ‘Flying in, I had been mesmerized by sinuous curves of sloughs and streams which wove together, then apart, meandering toward the gulf.’
    • ‘A small, crystal clear spring meandered through the center, running the diameter.’
    • ‘The river Maigue meanders through the 840-acre estate and forms the backbone of the Adare course.’
    • ‘In places the road will meander and curve to draw attention to the landscape.’
    • ‘As I did so, a figure walking along the road that curved gently with the land toward our farm and meandered past our house, caught my eye.’
    • ‘The area grew and prospered during the Industrial Revolution, but it's now an oasis of green calm, where canals and rivers meander through hills dotted with sheep and dry-stone walls.’
    • ‘She stopped as she came to a small stream meandering through the dense undergrowth.’
    • ‘The Tungabhadra river meanders gently through, and at night the boulder-strewn landscape has an almost magical quality.’
    zigzag, wind, twist, turn, curve, curl, bend, snake
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    1. 1.1Wander at random.
      ‘kids meandered in and out’
      • ‘Tourists and locals alike meandered along the main street, which was lined with small boutiques, shops, restaurants, and a couple of bars.’
      • ‘Whether it was a sudden, temporary insomnia or just mental restlessness, I meandered out of the sleeping house and onto the dark beach.’
      • ‘They meandered listlessly though the crowd and Spade accidentally bumped into someone.’
      • ‘The guests mingled around, listening to the ever present background music, meandering towards us, the happily engaged couple, to congratulate us.’
      • ‘We both followed the waitress as she meandered through the tables and booths.’
      • ‘He used that excuse to meander aimlessly around the cotton fields; sometimes, he would walk clear across the plantation, and sit between the rows for hours, just thinking.’
      • ‘Just then, he spotted them meandering down the road.’
      • ‘Patricia Schultz has suffered from wanderlust ever since she meandered away from the family beach blanket at age 4.’
      • ‘The pair were quiet at first as they meandered through the people and streets.’
      • ‘Omid took some time to meander and wander through the Game Developer Conference in San Jose last week.’
      • ‘Everyone was wandering around town, meandering.’
      • ‘We do get a little footage of him picking flowers outside his tract house, and meandering through a graveyard.’
      • ‘I meandered until I ended up on the road to the Castle on the Hill.’
      • ‘After meandering through the house for a little bit, I came to a stop in the living room, where I decided to watch TV.’
      • ‘He meanders through the crowd, looking for anyone to sate his primal desires.’
      • ‘She meandered the streets aimlessly, little sandals patting against the cobblestones - following half a thought and half a memory.’
      • ‘She hadn't notice the pair of dark eyes gazing at her as she meandered up the aisle occasionally picking up a book and reading the blurb.’
      • ‘My keen eyes found a small kid meandering around the area aimlessly.’
      • ‘I meandered up the track road and into the heart of our little town.’
      • ‘As we meandered towards the shoreline, my heart weighed heavy as the reality of my future appeared bleak.’
      stroll, saunter, amble, wander, roam, ramble, rove, drift, maunder, stray, straggle
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    2. 1.2[no object](of language, thought, etc.) proceed aimlessly or with little purpose.
      ‘a stylish offbeat thriller which occasionally meanders’
      • ‘This point-of-view tale meanders and stumbles in a blurry daze with characters coming and going.’
      • ‘I had just taken Claire home at around 11:00 a.m and was once again cruising around in my car, thoughts meandering around my head.’
      • ‘And yet Warm Water meanders aimlessly towards a sentimental conclusion, introducing eccentric characters along the way who are never followed up.’
      • ‘The plot itself is far from coherent and often meanders.’
      • ‘The film has no real energy; it just sort of meanders its way to the finale.’
      • ‘Aas soon as I let down my guard a thought of Gavin would meander into my brain and make as much noise as it could.’
      • ‘It just meanders along on nothing more than a song and a flourish of some pretty costumes.’
      • ‘Occasionally songs do meander and merge into one another, lost in the acoustic haze.’
      • ‘My thoughts meandered and moseyed as my eyelids grew heavy.’
      • ‘A couple of tracks meander aimlessly so that by the end of the album I'm left with the feeling that the band didn't quite know which direction to take.’
      • ‘The film isn't really about anything; it just meanders along.’
      • ‘He allows plot points and characters to meander around meaninglessly, while avoiding obvious elements like purpose and plausibility.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Allen can't maintain this consistent level of humor or energy, and Small Time Crooks begins to meander aimlessly.’
      • ‘Meanwhile my thoughts drifted and sifted, meandering here and there as I thought about the people walking into the building, all dressed up.’
      • ‘While her voice is still as silky as ever, it meanders without purpose, never grabbing and twirling the way that it has previously.’
      • ‘It meanders where it should inspire and it drifts where it should progress.’
      • ‘Thoughts meandered through her brain, and they were quite unorganized.’
      • ‘At times, though, the album meanders pointlessly and becomes slow and uninspired.’
      • ‘Though it meanders at points, there is a lesson in here for the youngsters drawn to the media by the ‘glamour’.’
      • ‘Other tracks distinctly lack progression; a drum loop plods along with murky synth bass lines only to cut off suddenly, or meander without significant development or resolution.’
      ramble, prattle, maunder, prate, blather, blether, blither, drivel, chatter, rattle, drift
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  • 1A winding curve or bend of a river or road.

    ‘the river flows in sweeping meanders’
    • ‘Awkwardly sited on the river meander, the bridge has an uncomfortable relationship with the freeway.’
    • ‘Shreve, in a move of astonishing hubris, decided in 1831 to dredge a five-mile shortcut across a long meander on the Mississippi, saving 18 river-miles.’
    bend, loop, curve, twist, turn, turning, coil, zigzag, oxbow, convolution
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    1. 1.1[in singular]An indirect or aimless journey.
      ‘a leisurely meander round the twisting coastline road’
      • ‘Quite apart form this, a slow meander down the Siq establishes the mystery of this ‘lost’ city and builds up a sense of anticipation around every corner.’
      • ‘Another meander takes us into the house of a female healer.’
      • ‘I will be writing about costs of living, food and booze on a slow meander in the sun.’
      wander, ramble, stroll, saunter, amble
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    2. 1.2An ornamental pattern of winding or interlocking lines.
      • ‘Contributing to this impression was not only the shape-on-top-of-shape appearance but that work's random meander.’
      • ‘Subsidiary zones are filled by key meanders among other rectilinear motifs; there may also be friezes of goats and deer, derived from Levantine sources.’
      • ‘Works called ‘folded loops’ resemble meanders or mazes, with every line bending back on itself.’


Late 16th century (as a noun): from Latin maeander, from Greek Maiandros, the name of a river (see Menderes).