verb (used without object)

to walk, go, or travel without a fixed purpose or direction; ramble; wander; rove: to roam about the world.

verb (used with object)

to wander over or through: to roam the countryside.


an act or instance of roaming; a ramble.

Origin of roam

1300–50; Middle English romen < ?
Related formsroam·er, nounun·roam·ing, adjective

Synonyms for roam

1. stray, stroll, prowl. Roam, ramble, range, rove imply wandering about over (usually) a considerable amount of territory. Roam implies a wandering or traveling over a large area, especially as prompted by restlessness or curiosity: to roam through a forest. Ramble implies pleasant, carefree moving about, walking with no specific purpose and for a limited distance: to ramble through fields near home. Range usually implies wandering over a more or less defined but extensive area in search of something: Cattle range over the plains. Rove sometimes implies wandering with specific incentive or aim, as an animal for prey: Bandits rove through these mountains. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for roaming

Contemporary Examples of roaming

Historical Examples of roaming

  • He spoke exactly as if he had been a collector who had been roaming the world for curios.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • They might have been roaming the world in all directions, without my seeing one of them.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Tell me, where were you roaming with the bundle last night, eh?

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • He had been roaming the streets ever since—that was a whole day and another night, you know.

    Kristy's Rainy Day Picnic

    Olive Thorne Miller

  • Their horses were roaming at will and the still form of Aunt Mercy was at their feet.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

British Dictionary definitions for roaming



to travel or walk about with no fixed purpose or direction; wander


the act of roaming
Derived Formsroamer, noun

Word Origin for roam

C13: origin unknown
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 roaming



c.1300, romen, possibly from Old English *ramian "act of wandering about," which is probably related to aræman "arise, lift up." There are no certain cognate forms in other Germanic languages, but Barnhart points to Old Norse reimuðr "act of wandering about," reimast "to haunt." "Except in late puns, there is no evidence of connexion with the Romance words denoting pilgrims or pilgrimages to Rome ...." [OED], such as Spanish romero "a pilot-fish; a pilgrim;" Old French romier "travelling as a pilgrim; a pilgrim," from Medieval Latin romerius "a pilgrim" (originally to Rome). Related: Roamed; roamer; roaming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper