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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for meandering

roaming, wandering, circular, nomadic

Examples from the Web for meandering

Contemporary Examples of meandering

Historical Examples of meandering

  • The sight of him meandering about the room recalled these things.

  • Now, the Kennyfecks had been meandering after this fashion for some time back.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • But mind you tell your wife just what I told you—and no meandering of your own—you hear!

  • Then, meandering through this wilderness of dubiety, ran thoughts of Oliver.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke

  • "Gimpy Gordon's meandering mind is well understood for what it is," he said.

    The Big Fix

    George Oliver Smith

British Dictionary definitions for meandering


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 meandering



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

meandering 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.