[ won-der-wawrt ]

  1. a loanword borrowed from one language and established in many unrelated languages, usually in a chain of adoption determined by established trade routes, and sometimes undergoing changes caused by contact with the native language of the dominant group where the word is adopted: “Tea” and “chai” are wanderworts that spread around the world as their namesake was traded, with “tea” more common along maritime routes, and “chai” the more common variant over land.The wanderwort “cat” has forms like “qiṭṭ” in Arabic that look familiar even though Arabic and English are not related.

Origin of wanderwort

First recorded in 1910–15; from German: literally, “wander word,” equivalent to wander(n) wander + Wort word

Words Nearby wanderwort

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023