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[won-der] /ˈwɒn dər/
verb (used without object)
to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray:
to wander over the earth.
to go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; meander:
The river wanders among the rocks.
to extend in an irregular course or direction:
Foothills wandered off to the south.
to move, pass, or turn idly, as the hand or the eyes.
(of the mind, thoughts, desires, etc.) to take one direction or another without conscious intent or control:
His attention wandered as the speaker droned on.
to stray from a path, place, companions, etc.:
During the storm the ship wandered from its course.
to deviate in conduct, belief, etc.; err; go astray:
Let me not wander from Thy Commandments.
to think or speak confusedly or incoherently.
(of a person with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment) to move about or walk in a seemingly aimless or random manner.
verb (used with object)
to travel about, on, or through:
He wandered the streets.
Mechanics. the drift of a gyroscope or a similar device.
Origin of wander
before 900; Middle English wandren, Old English wandrian (cognate with German wandern), frequentative of wendan to wend; see -er6
Related forms
wanderer, noun
outwander, verb (used with object)
1. range, stroll. 2. saunter. 6. swerve, veer. 8. ramble, rave. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for wandered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "You have wandered long in the wilderness," continued the minister.

  • Austin, with a smile on his lips, wandered out into the sunshine in search of Viviette.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • With his bag in hand, he wandered through the streets, uncertain what to do or where to go.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • At length as they wandered they came to a part where seemed to be only small houses and mews.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Then she drew a long breath, put out her candle, and wandered to the door.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for wandered


verb (mainly intransitive)
(also transitive) to move or travel about, in, or through (a place) without any definite purpose or destination
to proceed in an irregular course; meander
to go astray, as from a path or course
(of the mind, thoughts, etc) to lose concentration or direction
to think or speak incoherently or illogically
the act or an instance of wandering
Derived Forms
wanderer, noun
wandering, adjective, noun
wanderingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English wandrian; related to Old Frisian wandria, Middle Dutch, Middle High German wanderen
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 wandered



Old English wandrian "move about aimlessly, wander," from West Germanic *wandrojan (cf. Old Frisian wondria, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wanderen, German wandern "to wander," a variant form of the root represented in Old High German wantalon "to walk, wander"), from root *wend- "to turn" (see wind (v.)). In reference to the mind, affections, etc., attested from c.1400. Related: Wandered; wandering. The Wandering Jew of Christian legend first mentioned 13c. (cf. French le juif errant, German der ewige Jude).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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