aimlessly wandering.
taking an irregular course; straggling: a rambling brook.
spread out irregularly in various directions: a rambling mansion.
straying from one subject to another; desultory: a rambling novel.

Origin of rambling

First recorded in 1615–25; ramble + -ing2
Related formsram·bling·ly, adverbram·bling·ness, nounun·ram·bling, adjective

Synonyms for rambling



verb (used without object), ram·bled, ram·bling.

to wander around in a leisurely, aimless manner: They rambled through the shops until closing time.
to take a course with many turns or windings, as a stream or path.
to grow in a random, unsystematic fashion: The vine rambled over the walls and tree trunks.
to talk or write in a discursive, aimless way (usually followed by on): The speaker rambled on with anecdote after anecdote.

verb (used with object), ram·bled, ram·bling.

to walk aimlessly or idly over or through: They spent the spring afternoon rambling woodland paths.


a walk without a definite route, taken merely for pleasure.

Origin of ramble

First recorded in 1610–20; origin uncertain

Synonyms for ramble

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

Examples from the Web for rambling

Contemporary Examples of rambling

Historical Examples of rambling

  • We had to keep watch all last night over the horses to keep them from rambling.

  • But this is rambling far from the momentous twenty-first of June, my day of triumph.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • A girl, a well born girl, rambling the woods all night with her fiancé!

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • It was a rambling old place that seemed to have been cut out of a barn.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • He was lying hard on the place of his pain and rambling in delirium.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for rambling



straggling or sprawling haphazardly; unplanneda rambling old house
(of speech or writing) lacking a coherent plan; diffuse and disconnected
(of a plant, esp a rose) profusely climbing and straggling
nomadic; wandering


verb (intr)

to stroll about freely, as for relaxation, with no particular direction
(of paths, streams, etc) to follow a winding course; meander
(of plants) to grow in a random fashion
(of speech, writing, etc) to lack organization


a leisurely stroll, esp in the countryside

Word Origin for ramble

C17: probably related to Middle Dutch rammelen to roam (of animals); see ram
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 rambling

1623, present participle adjective from ramble (v.).



mid-15c., perhaps frequentative of romen "to walk, go" (see roam), perhaps via romblen (late 14c.) "to ramble." The vowel change perhaps by influence of Middle Dutch rammelen, a derivative of rammen "copulate," "used of the night wanderings of the amorous cat" [Weekley]. Meaning "to talk or write incoherently" is from 1630s. Related: Rambled; rambling.



"a roving or wandering," 1650s, from ramble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper