[sawn-ter, sahn-]

verb (used without object)

to walk with a leisurely gait; stroll: sauntering through the woods.


a leisurely walk or ramble; stroll.
a leisurely gait.

Origin of saunter

First recorded in 1660–70; of uncertain origin
Related formssaun·ter·er, noun

Synonyms for saunter

1–3. amble, ramble, meander. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saunter

Contemporary Examples of saunter

Historical Examples of saunter

  • You stop short, and swallow hard, and saunter into camp as one indifferent.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • He only nodded carelessly, and continued to saunter about as if no bull was near him.

  • We'll saunter slowly up to the village, and you can follow us.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

  • He don't know me from Adam and I'll just saunter up and collar him.

  • They used to saunter, arm in arm, up and down the alleys and walks of the garden.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

British Dictionary definitions for saunter


verb (intr)

to walk in a casual manner; stroll


a leisurely pace or stroll
a leisurely old-time dance
Derived Formssaunterer, noun

Word Origin for saunter

C17 (meaning: to wander aimlessly), C15 (to muse): of obscure origin
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 saunter

late 15c., santren "to muse, be in reverie," of uncertain origin despite many absurd speculations. Meaning "walk with a leisurely gait" is from 1660s, and may be a different word. Klein suggests this sense of the word derives via Anglo-French sauntrer (mid-14c.) from French s'aventurer "to take risks," but OED finds this "unlikely." Related: Sauntered; sauntering.


"a leisurely stroll," 1828, from saunter (v.). Earlier it meant "idle occupation, diversion" (1728).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper