- moving from place to place without a fixed plan; roaming; rambling: wandering tourists.
- having no permanent residence; nomadic: a wandering tribe of Indians.
- meandering; winding: a wandering river; a wandering path.
- an aimless roving about; leisurely traveling from place to place: a period of delightful wandering through Italy.
- Usually wanderings.
- aimless travels; meanderings: Her wanderings took her all over the world.
- disordered thoughts or utterances; incoherencies: mental wanderings; the wanderings of delirium.
- seemingly aimless or random movement or locomotion by a person with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment: Wandering by Alzheimer’s patients is a problem in nursing homes.See also elopement(def 2).
Origin of wandering
- 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.
- to travel about, on, or through: He wandered the streets.
- Mechanics. the drift of a gyroscope or a similar device.
Origin of wander
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for wandering
Mr. Bachner found it by wandering through the market and identified a craftsmen here who works in a tiny booth.The Photographer Who Gave Up Manhattan for Marrakech
January 6, 2015
And, in a gratuitous show of homicidal prowess, Moses kills two assassins he meets while wandering in the desert of Sinai.Meet Moses the Swashbuckling Israelite
December 14, 2014
After wandering at haphazard some little way I met a peasant in a sleigh.Book Bag: Beguiling if Unlikely Travel Books
September 4, 2014
He showed signs of a restless, wandering soul, someone searching for meaning around him.Bergdahl’s Bitter Homecoming: The Psychological Cost of War
July 19, 2014
While wandering the grounds, I keep an eye out for suspicious lumps in the dirt.Pablo Escobar’s Private Prison Is Now Run by Monks for Senior Citizens
June 7, 2014
He had been wandering about a long time—not in years, for he was less than thirty.
For perhaps an hour Joe Drummond had been wandering up and down the Street.
She felt as if she had been wandering, and had come home to the arms that were about her.
"Yes; that is—very much," I stammered, wandering back to Helen's desk.The Bacillus of Beauty
What was the use of wandering about the house in this disconsolate manner?The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
- (also tr) 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
Word Origin and History for wandering
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).
- Moving about freely; not fixed; abnormally motile.