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"to wander with no fixed destination," 1530s (earliest sense was "to shoot arrows at a mark selected at pleasure or at random," late 15c.); possibly a Midlands dialectal variant of northern English and Scottish rave "to wander, stray," from Middle English raven, probably from Old Norse rafa "to wander, rove" (cf. rave (v.)). Influenced by rover, if not a back-formation from it. Related: Roved; roving.
in archery, form of practice or competition dating from at least the 16th century, when it was practiced by the Honourable Artillery Company at Finsbury Fields near London. Archers set up many marks on the field and shot from one to the next in sequence, the object being, as in golf, to use the fewest shots in completing the course. Roving is similar to modern field archery, which, in fact, is sometimes called roving.