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From Middle English wandren, wandrien, from Old English wandrian (to wander, roam, fly around, hover; change; stray, err), from Proto-Germanic *wandrōną (to wander), from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (to turn, wind), equivalent to wend +‎ -er (frequentative suffix). Cognate with Scots wander (to wander), German wandern (to wander, roam, hike, migrate), Swedish vandra (to wander, hike).



wander (third-person singular simple present wanders, present participle wandering, simple past and past participle wandered)

  1. (intransitive) To move without purpose or specified destination; often in search of livelihood.
    to wander over the fields
    • Bible, Hebrews xi.37:
      They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter IX, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      “A tight little craft,” was Austin’s invariable comment on the matron; []. ¶ Near her wandered her husband, orientally bland, invariably affable, and from time to time squinting sideways, as usual, in the ever-renewed expectation that he might catch a glimpse of his stiff, retroussé moustache.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828:
      There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy. [] Stewards, carrying cabin trunks, swarm in the corridors. Passengers wander restlessly about or hurry, with futile energy, from place to place.
  2. (intransitive) To stray; stray from one's course; err.
    A writer wanders from his subject.
    • Bible, Psalms cxix.10:
      O, let me not wander from thy commandments.
  3. (intransitive) To commit adultery.
  4. (intransitive) To go somewhere indirectly or at varying speeds; to move in a curved path.
  5. (intransitive) Of the mind, to lose focus or clarity of argument or attention.



  • (move without purpose): err, roam
  • (commit adultery): cheat
  • (go somewhere indirectly):
  • (lose focus): drift

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


wander (plural wanders)

  1. The act or instance of wandering.
    To go for a wander







  1. First-person singular present of wandern.
  2. Imperative singular of wandern.