verb (used without object)

to proceed by or take a winding or indirect course: The stream meandered through the valley.
to wander aimlessly; ramble: The talk meandered on.

verb (used with object)

Surveying. to define the margin of (a body of water) with a meander line.


Usually meanders. turnings or windings; a winding path or course.
a circuitous movement or journey.
an intricate variety of fret or fretwork.

Origin of meander

1570–80; < Latin maeander < Greek maíandros a winding, special use of Maíandros, the Menderes River, noted for its winding course
Related formsme·an·der·er, nounme·an·der·ing·ly, adverbun·me·an·der·ing, adjectiveun·me·an·der·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for meander




ancient name of the Menderes(def 2). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for meander

Contemporary Examples of meander

Historical Examples of meander

  • But I must meander back to town, and let the boys know you're in possession, safe and sound.

    Devil's Ford

    Bret Harte

  • Familiar with the meander of the bank below the ford, he saw what had happened.

    Laramie Holds the Range

    Frank H. Spearman

  • All this the officer tells us as we meander across the smooth water.

  • He thinks that it may have been the origin of the Greek fret or meander pattern.

    The Swastika

    Thomas Wilson

  • This is more imperative with the meander Swastika than with the normal.

    The Swastika

    Thomas Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for meander


verb (intr)

to follow a winding course
to wander without definite aim or direction


(often plural) a curve or bend, as in a river
(often plural) a winding course or movement
an ornamental pattern, esp as used in ancient Greek architecture
Derived Formsmeanderer, nounmeandering, adjectivemeanderingly, adverbmeandrous, adjective

Word Origin for meander

C16: from Latin maeander, from Greek Maiandros the River Maeander; see Menderes (sense 1)



a variant spelling of Maeander
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

Word Origin and History for meander

1570s, "confusion, intricacies," from Latin meander "a winding course," from Greek Maiandros, name of a river in Caria noted for its winding course (the Greeks used the name figuratively for winding patterns). In reference to river courses, in English, from 1590s. Adjectival forms are meandrine (1846); meandrous (1650s).


"flow in a winding course" (of rivers), 1610s, from meander (n.). Of a person, "to wander aimlessly" (1831), originally of persons traveling on a river (1821), perhaps influenced by confusion with maunder [OED]. Related: Meandered; meandering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

meander in Science



A sinuous curve, bend, or loop along the course of a stream or river.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.