9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[won-der] /ˈwɒn dər/
verb (used without object)
to ramble without a definite purpose or objective; roam, rove, or stray:
to wander over the earth.
to go aimlessly, indirectly, or casually; meander:
The river wanders among the rocks.
to extend in an irregular course or direction:
Foothills wandered off to the south.
to move, pass, or turn idly, as the hand or the eyes.
(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.
to stray from a path, place, companions, etc.:
During the storm the ship wandered from its course.
to deviate in conduct, belief, etc.; err; go astray:
Let me not wander from Thy Commandments.
to think or speak confusedly or incoherently.
(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)
to travel about, on, or through:
He wandered the streets.
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 forms
wanderer, noun
outwander, verb (used with object)
1. range, stroll. 2. saunter. 6. swerve, veer. 8. ramble, rave. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wander
  • Scores of backpackers, boaters, and private pilots will wander off course this month and get lost.
  • Before proceeding to the next paragraph, let your mind wander wherever it wants to go.
  • Because it is selectively managed and visitors are invited to wander about, this forest is actually a garden.
  • People reported being happiest when engaged in what they were doing versus allowing their minds to wander.
  • Take plenty of water and wander about without the tour.
  • Your mind will probably wander while you read this article.
  • There, before it finds its buyer, cool people can wander through and smile at one another.
  • Which also means that they sometimes wander off in search of a better place to stay if the mood takes them.
  • There is the sense, illusory but seductive, that one could wander this world indefinitely.
  • And so they often wander away from the comforts of health-care insurance.
British Dictionary definitions for wander


verb (mainly intransitive)
(also transitive) to move or travel about, in, or through (a place) without any definite purpose or destination
to proceed in an irregular course; meander
to go astray, as from a path or course
(of the mind, thoughts, etc) to lose concentration or direction
to think or speak incoherently or illogically
the act or an instance of wandering
Derived Forms
wanderer, noun
wandering, adjective, noun
wanderingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for wander

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
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