expressing admiration or amazement; marveling.

Origin of wondering

First recorded in 1585–95; wonder + -ing2
Related formswon·der·ing·ly, adverbun·won·der·ing, adjective



verb (used without object)

to think or speculate curiously: to wonder about the origin of the solar system.
to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often followed by at): He wondered at her composure in such a crisis.
to doubt: I wonder if she'll really get here.

verb (used with object)

to speculate curiously or be curious about; be curious to know: to wonder what happened.
to feel wonder at: I wonder that you went.


something strange and surprising; a cause of surprise, astonishment, or admiration: That building is a wonder. It is a wonder he declined such an offer.
the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration: He felt wonder at seeing the Grand Canyon.
miraculous deed or event; remarkable phenomenon.

Origin of wonder

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English wundor; cognate with Dutch wonder, German Wunder, Old Norse undr; (v.) Middle English wonderen, Old English wundrian, derivative of the noun
Related formswon·der·er, nounwon·der·less, adjective

Synonyms for wonder

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

Examples from the Web for wondering

Contemporary Examples of wondering

Historical Examples of wondering

  • I have been thinking about that day, wondering what I could do to help you.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • At first you kept on wondering what the joke was, till you saw it was only a habit Sarah had.

  • Between the "wondering" and the noun there had been an observable pause.

  • There was a wistfulness about Tillie's mouth that set him wondering.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "I guess you've been wondering why you haven't heard from me," he said.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for wondering



the feeling excited by something strange; a mixture of surprise, curiosity, and sometimes awe
something that causes such a feeling, such as a miracle
(modifier) exciting wonder by virtue of spectacular results achieved, feats performed, etca wonder drug; a wonder horse
do wonders or work wonders to achieve spectacularly fine results
for a wonder surprisingly or amazingly
nine days' wonder a subject that arouses general surprise or public interest for a short time
no wonder (sentence connector) (I am) not surprised at all (that)no wonder he couldn't come
small wonder (sentence connector) (I am) hardly surprised (that)small wonder he couldn't make it tonight

verb (when tr, may take a clause as object)

(when intr, often foll by about) to indulge in speculative inquiry, often accompanied by an element of doubt (concerning something)I wondered about what she said; I wonder what happened
(when intr, often foll by at) to be amazed (at something)I wonder at your impudence
Derived Formswonderer, nounwonderless, adjective

Word Origin for wonder

Old English wundor; related to Old Saxon wundar, Old Norse undr, German Wunder



Stevie. real name Steveland Judkins Morris. born 1950, US Motown singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. His recordings include Up-Tight (1966), "Superstition" (1972), Innervisions (1973), Songs in the Key of Life (1976), and "I Just Called to Say I Love You" (1985)
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 wondering



Old English wundor "marvelous thing, marvel, the object of astonishment," from Proto-Germanic *wundran (cf. Old Saxon wundar, Middle Dutch, Dutch wonder, Old High German wuntar, German wunder, Old Norse undr), of unknown origin. In Middle English it also came to mean the emotion associated with such a sight (late 13c.). The verb is from Old English wundrian. Used colloquially in Pennsylvania German areas in some transitive senses (It wonders me that ... for "I wonder why ..."); this was common in Middle English and as late as Tindale (1533), and a correspondent reports the usage also yet survives in Yorkshire/Lincolnshire. Related: Wondered, wondering, wonders.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wondering


In addition to the idiom beginning with wonder

  • wonders will never cease

also see:

  • for a wonder
  • no wonder
  • work wonders
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.