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[sawn-ter, sahn-] /ˈsɔn tər, ˈsɑn-/
verb (used without object)
to walk with a leisurely gait; stroll:
sauntering through the woods.
a leisurely walk or ramble; stroll.
a leisurely gait.
Origin of saunter
First recorded in 1660-70; of uncertain origin
Related forms
saunterer, noun
1–3. amble, ramble, meander. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for saunter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You stop short, and swallow hard, and saunter into camp as one indifferent.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • He only nodded carelessly, and continued to saunter about as if no bull was near him.

    Brighter Britain! (Volume 1 of 2) William Delisle Hay
  • We'll saunter slowly up to the village, and you can follow us.

    One Of Them Charles James Lever
  • He don't know me from Adam and I'll just saunter up and collar him.

    Frontier Boys in Frisco

    Wyn Roosevelt
  • They used to saunter, arm in arm, up and down the alleys and walks of the garden.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • When he is being played, many of us have to rush away and saunter in the foyer.

    Nights in London

    Thomas Burke
  • In the meantime Harry proposed a saunter in the field adjoining the fort.

    The Young Fur Traders R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for saunter


verb (intransitive)
to walk in a casual manner; stroll
a leisurely pace or stroll
a leisurely old-time dance
Derived Forms
saunterer, noun
Word Origin
C17 (meaning: to wander aimlessly), C15 (to muse): of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for saunter

late 15c., santren "to muse, be in reverie," of uncertain origin despite many absurd speculations. Meaning "walk with a leisurely gait" is from 1660s, and may be a different word. Klein suggests this sense of the word derives via Anglo-French sauntrer (mid-14c.) from French s'aventurer "to take risks," but OED finds this "unlikely." Related: Sauntered; sauntering.


"a leisurely stroll," 1828, from saunter (v.). Earlier it meant "idle occupation, diversion" (1728).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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