Definition of wander in English:



  • 1[with adverbial of direction] Walk or move in a leisurely or aimless way.

    ‘I wandered through the narrow streets’
    • ‘We looked at the Falls, which were quite foggy, then wandered down the road a little bit to try to see the Canadian Falls better.’
    • ‘My mum had called the police after seeing Mikey in a distressed state, wandering up the road when it was gone midnight.’
    • ‘And there was a loony-looking guy wandering around the road and everyone was staring at him.’
    • ‘He laughed and wandered farther down Moonglow Road until he came to a lone house on the deserted street.’
    • ‘He wandered on down the road, tears streaming down his cheeks, the questions whirling in his brain.’
    • ‘At Leeds he wanders around the Elland Road ground, chatting happily with groundstaff, physios, doormen and pampered millionaire footballers alike with the same easy familiarity.’
    • ‘As he wandered along the road to the bus station he felt strangely hollow and remained silent on the journey to Horsham.’
    • ‘He stuck his hands in his pocket and wandered off down the road.’
    • ‘When it was lunchtime on his first day he wandered across the road to the recreation ground which had a small grandstand.’
    • ‘As I was looking for a place to stay I wandered off Jomtien Beach Road and noticed what I thought would be a reasonably quiet place to stay.’
    • ‘He took a couple of cans, made sure others saw, and wandered up the road toward home drinking.’
    • ‘We turned a corner of the road and wandered down another street much the same as the others.’
    • ‘There is green slime on the grass, the pavement and the road and the geese cause almost continual hold-ups for the traffic by wandering about on the road.’
    • ‘Serious traffic accidents were narrowly avoided as numerous motorists were forced to swerve to avoid the animals that were wandering along the main road at Fossa.’
    • ‘If people know generally that dingoes, kangaroos, emus and brumbies are likely to wander onto the road, they are aware of it and they drive accordingly.’
    • ‘It's compounded as I wander up the road in search of refreshment.’
    • ‘I wandered up the road to take a closer look at the mayhem.’
    • ‘According to myth, Irish Travellers are a group who were dispossessed by the famine and they were forced to wander the roads by British colonialism.’
    • ‘Giving up on the idea of watching the first run of the show, we wandered back down the road to get front row seats for the second leg.’
    • ‘Anyway, after work I wandered down a lovely road in a studenty part of town and picked up some food and some wine.’
    stroll, amble, saunter, walk, dawdle, potter, ramble, maunder, meander
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    1. 1.1[with object]Travel aimlessly through or over (an area)
      ‘he found her wandering the streets’
      • ‘Finally, the same irony that wandered the killing fields of the Sudan, like the ghost of murdered rationality, has returned to haunt the ruins of Iraq.’
      • ‘Apart from these, Indian wandering monks traveled the breadth and length of this whole area.’
      • ‘Raydeana tuned out his words again, watching the people wander the streets around her.’
      • ‘When he's not here, I often see him just wandering the area.’
      • ‘While wandering the area you can explore the Tipi maze, petting zoo, live music, and pumpkin patch.’
      • ‘Even if I were dead, he left me to wander the desolate battlefield, my soul forever in turmoil in such a place.’
      • ‘Wednesday is a free day so Liz can wander the area on her own or take part in an optional trip with the group to Granada.’
      • ‘He said that people were not safe because of the amount of hounds wandering the streets of the town.’
      • ‘The fox wandered the area, and went a little ahead, finding not much, besides a few more berries that had not yet spoiled in the coming winter.’
      • ‘There are wild-looking cats wandering the open areas and this might upset the very sensitive.’
      • ‘We did see loads of deer though, and right in the township happily wandering the streets trying to con food off people.’
      • ‘Unable to sleep, Roza took to wandering the castle aimlessly, once again prey to her restless and relentless torment.’
      • ‘I have fond memories of wandering our farm, bringing my father his lunch during the spring field work.’
      • ‘The four of them wandered the sidewalks and parks half of the time looking for their undeclared leader, and the other half of the time they just had fun.’
      • ‘He wandered the seedy areas with his eyes wide open and his camera at the ready.’
      • ‘I watched him wandering the room in circles, having no idea what he did with me the night before.’
      • ‘Morodiel had been wandering the park for fifteen minutes since that Yossirian guy had left.’
      • ‘There is a significant number of people of east European and Oriental extraction wandering the streets of York at any given time.’
      • ‘Even what was supposed to be the ultimate taboo, murder, has been demystified and wanders our streets aimlessly every other weekend.’
      • ‘Her mother had sent her shopping with a maid, and now she was wandering the marketplace, searching for various materials.’
      travelling, rambling, roaming, roving, journeying, drifting, itinerant, floating, wayfaring, voyaging, touring
      peripatetic, unsettled, rootless, restless, on the move, on the go, on the wing
      nomadic, gypsy, romany
      vagabond, vagrant, migrant, migratory, migrating, transient, homeless, displaced
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    2. 1.2(of a road or river) meander.
      ‘the narrow road wanders along the foreshore’
      meander, wind, twist, turn, curve, zigzag, bend, snake, worm
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  • 2Move slowly away from a fixed point or place.

    ‘please don't wander off again’
    figurative ‘his attention had wandered’
    • ‘I expected him to wander off at that point (after all, cute guys don't bother to talk to me much), but he stayed around and chatted with me.’
    • ‘Her hands felt the cold stone, moving with each step so that she may not wander off.’
    • ‘After some running around and playing, Thena settled down and spent most of the evening sleeping on me, even returning after I'd wander off to go do something else.’
    • ‘If you're meditating to calm your mind and your attention wanders, slowly return to the object, sensation or movement you're focusing on.’
    • ‘The company ate their food and began to slowly in little groups wander off outside the cave.’
    • ‘I wander off as I'm listening to him, a little way from the path.’
    • ‘A deadly combination: half has played already and wants to wander off; the other half gets itchy waiting for their turn.’
    • ‘He picked up the harmonica early on and, as a kid, used to wander off to the woods to improvise‘where only the trees could hear me.’’
    • ‘But the superintendent of police said the prisoner was the sort to wander off, and so magistrates refused his request and sent him back to jail.’
    • ‘As we lay down in our sleeping bags, we slowly let our minds wander off and let our thoughts seek peace.’
    • ‘Sometimes I get scared that I'll wander off like that, and not quite be conscious of what I'm doing, and just go completely mad and never come back!’
    • ‘His attention's always seeking to wander off: it's only in a crisis that he feels he is where he wants to be.’
    • ‘To be an effective literary enthusiast, the unspoken goal is to wander off the beaten track and find the titles that no one else has read.’
    • ‘But instead of being thankful that you have been reminded about this event the mind tends to wander off and take a momentum of its own.’
    • ‘It's just that the wealthy are notoriously able to find ways of minimising their payments, are inclined to wander off to some other place and not pay tax here at all.’
    • ‘An investigation into how the boys managed to wander off from carers following the day trip to the Pleasureland theme park in Southport has now been launched.’
    • ‘So I'm going to wander off now and check that I'm listed on.’
    • ‘Finally they wander off to enjoy the happy hippy vibe of the summer day - to join in the workshops, dance wildly, eat felafel, and swim in the drinkable creek.’
    • ‘Rather it's the incoherent screenplay, direction which jerks from one improbable setting to another and lets itself wander off into teen romance.’
    • ‘So I wander off to find someone official looking, who tells me to wait for the next train, due at 18: 45.’
    get lost, lose one's way, go off course, lose one's bearings, go astray, go off at a tangent
    stray, depart, diverge, veer, swerve, deviate, digress, vary, drift, get separated, get sidetracked, go wool-gathering
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  • 3Be unfaithful to one's regular sexual partner.

    ‘he had married her and he was not going to be allowed to wander’
    • ‘They expect the spark to be everlasting, they expect eyes to never wander, etc.’
    • ‘Before contraception, many people did not feel they could wander from relationship to relationship and so they worked on the one they had, they made an effort.’


  • An act or instance of wandering.

    ‘she'd go on wanders like that in her nightgown’
    • ‘I have to resist the temptation to go for a wet wander.’
    • ‘Had a wander round her garden, which I planned out for her just before I left home in 1999-and although I say it myself, it looks bloody marvellous!’
    • ‘Looking it up in the guidebook, I saw that it was the highest point in the whole city, so made that my next mission, expecting it to be a simple wander down my hill and up the next one.’
    • ‘Rick wasn't there yet, so I went for a wander around some of the shops which were there and spotted a few targets to acquire with my ill-gotten gains.’
    • ‘We got off at the south end of the loop and had a wander around breathing the place in, before heading for the art institute.’
    • ‘But after an hour-long wander round Grosmont and a visit to the railway's engine sheds, that was enough fresh air and rain clouds.’
    • ‘We queued for a while to get in and had a wander round the outer precincts and courtyards before touring the spectacular State Apartments.’
    • ‘I am sure I have actually seen the Funeral CD on some shelf in some shop during my wanders.’
    • ‘Having had a wander and my fill of tall mast sailing ships and sea (but particularly small uncontrolled children), I decided to head for home.’
    • ‘This week I would ask readers to take a look around Kilmead and maybe have a wander up around the Moat of Ardscull.’
    • ‘Then, when I get back I'll be house sitting up in Paekakariki - so drop me an email if you want to come and visit for lunch and a wander on the beach.’
    • ‘We also had a wander into a couple of shops and I made great use of my two new shopping philosophies gleaned from a very brief reading of Brenda's Wardrobe Companion.’
    • ‘I've just been out for a wander, and to get a sandwich.’
    • ‘The Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is in a former monastery and a wander around the airy cloisters or in the excellent cacti garden offer a respite from any cases of museum fatigue.’
    • ‘It is nice for a couple of hour's stroll, and you can combine it with a wander around the golf course.’
    • ‘I went for a wander around the Castle yesterday, then down the Royal Mile and back along Princes Street.’
    • ‘Simply take a wander down the Todd Mall on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 11.30 and 1.30 to check out the bevy of local talent.’
    • ‘So before I go have a wander over for a visit, here are some linky dinks.’
    • ‘The Saturday was pretty typical - I took Rebecca out to the supermarket, and then looked after her for the afternoon while Heather went into town for a wander.’
    • ‘Having seen two tours set off, I go for a wander round Parliament Square.’
    stroll, amble, saunter, walk, roam, meander, dawdle, potter, ramble
    gallivant, prowl, drift, maunder, promenade, constitutional
    turn, breather, airing, trek, trudge
    traipse, mosey, tootle
    perambulation, peregrination
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Old English wandrian, of West Germanic origin; related to wend and wind.