verb (used without object)
  1. to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray: to wander over the earth.
  2. to go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; meander: The river wanders among the rocks.
  3. to extend in an irregular course or direction: Foothills wandered off to the south.
  4. to move, pass, or turn idly, as the hand or the eyes.
  5. (of the mind, thoughts, desires, etc.) to take one direction or another without conscious intent or control: His attention wandered as the speaker droned on.
  6. to stray from a path, place, companions, etc.: During the storm the ship wandered from its course.
  7. to deviate in conduct, belief, etc.; err; go astray: Let me not wander from Thy Commandments.
  8. to think or speak confusedly or incoherently.
  9. (of a person with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment) to move about or walk in a seemingly aimless or random manner.
verb (used with object)
  1. to travel about, on, or through: He wandered the streets.
  1. Mechanics. the drift of a gyroscope or a similar device.

Origin of wander

before 900; Middle English wandren, Old English wandrian (cognate with German wandern), frequentative of wendan to wend; see -er6
Related formswan·der·er, nounout·wan·der, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for wander

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wandered

Contemporary Examples of wandered

Historical Examples of wandered

  • "You have wandered long in the wilderness," continued the minister.

  • Austin, with a smile on his lips, wandered out into the sunshine in search of Viviette.


    William J. Locke

  • With his bag in hand, he wandered through the streets, uncertain what to do or where to go.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • At length as they wandered they came to a part where seemed to be only small houses and mews.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Then she drew a long breath, put out her candle, and wandered to the door.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for wandered


verb (mainly intr)
  1. (also tr) to move or travel about, in, or through (a place) without any definite purpose or destination
  2. to proceed in an irregular course; meander
  3. to go astray, as from a path or course
  4. (of the mind, thoughts, etc) to lose concentration or direction
  5. to think or speak incoherently or illogically
  1. the act or an instance of wandering
Derived Formswanderer, nounwandering, adjective, nounwanderingly, adverb

Word Origin for wander

Old English wandrian; related to Old Frisian wandria, Middle Dutch, Middle High German wanderen
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 wandered



Old English wandrian "move about aimlessly, wander," from West Germanic *wandrojan (cf. Old Frisian wondria, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wanderen, German wandern "to wander," a variant form of the root represented in Old High German wantalon "to walk, wander"), from root *wend- "to turn" (see wind (v.)). In reference to the mind, affections, etc., attested from c.1400. Related: Wandered; wandering. The Wandering Jew of Christian legend first mentioned 13c. (cf. French le juif errant, German der ewige Jude).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper