Word Confusion: Wander versus Wonder

Posted November 28, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It’s a wonder, I’m thinking, as I wander down this path of wander versus wonder, how easy it is to confuse an a for an o and end up with a misspelled word.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Wander versus Wonder” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

Return to top

Wander Wonder
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: wander, wonder

Stone-laid wandering path at Bradford University campus

“Winding Path and Willow Trees” by Tim Green from Bradford is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a pretty path wandering under the trees.

Great Sphinx of Giza and Pyramid of Cheops. The color of the sky is due to pollution of Cairo.

“Great Sphinx of Giza and Pyramid of Cheops” is kallerna’s own work and under the GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the last wonders of the ancient world.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: wanders
Past tense or past participle: wandered
Gerund or present participle: wandering

Noun 1;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and Third person present verb: wonders
Past tense or past participle: wondered
Gerund or present participle: wondering

An act or instance of wandering

[Mechanics] The drift of a gyroscope or a similar device

Verb, intransitive:
Walk, ramble, or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way

  • Move slowly away from a fixed point or place
  • [Of a road or river] Wind with gentle twists and turns in a particular direction
    • Meander
  • Be unfaithful to one’s spouse or regular sexual partner

To extend in an irregular course or direction

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

To stray from a path, place, companions, etc.

Go deviate in conduct, belief, etc.

  • Err
  • Go astray

Verb, transitive:
Move or travel slowly through or over a place or area

A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable

  • The quality of a person or thing that causes wonder
  • A strange or remarkable person, thing, or event
  • Having remarkable properties or abilities
  • [In singular] A surprising event or situation

Verb, intransitive:
Desire or be curious to know something

  • Used to express a polite question or request
  • Feel doubt

Feel admiration and amazement

  • Marvel
  • Be surprised

Verb, transitive:
To speculate curiously or be curious about

  • Be curious to know

To feel wonder at

She’d go on wanders like that in her nightgown.

Verb, intransitive:
He wandered aimlessly through the narrow streets.

Please don’t wander off again.

His attention had wandered from the lecture.

The car wandered from side to side, leaving me wonder if the driver was drunk.

Helen didn’t know how to tell her sister that her husband wandered.

The foothills wandered off to the south.

Let me not wander from Thy Commandments.

During the storm the ship wandered from its course.

Verb, transitive:
She found her wandering the streets.

Derrick wandered down the path.

Stevie had a wandering eye, in more ways than one.

He had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child.

Athens was a place of wonder and beauty.

The electric trolley car was looked upon as the wonder of the age.

Penicillin was and still is a wonder drug.

It is a wonder that losses were not much greater.

Verb, intransitive:
How many times have I written that, I wonder?

I can’t help wondering how Stasia and Katie are feeling.

I wonder whether you have thought more about it?

Patsy had wondered about such a marriage.

People stood by and wondered at such bravery.

I looked up at the Eiffel Tower with a wondering look on my face.

If I feel compassion for her, it is not to be wondered at.

Verb, transitive:
Kenny had to wonder what had happened to me.

I wonder that you went.

Noun: wanderer, wanderings, Wanderjahr, wanderlust
Verb, transitive: outwander
Adverb: wonderingly
Noun: wonderer
History of the Word:
Old English wandrian is related to wend and wind. Old English wundor 1, wundrian 2, is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch wonder and German Wunder. It is of unknown ultimate origin.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

Return to top

Pinterest Photo Credits:

“American Falls From Goat Island, Niagara Falls, N. Y” by the Detroit Publishing Company is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.