• meander •
Pronunciation: mee-æn-dê(r) • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, Noun
Meaning: 1. To twist and turn, as a river meandering through a valley. 2. To wander aimlessly, without a destination, as to meander about the city all afternoon.
Notes: Today's Good Word exemplifies the problems of English spelling: mean is pronounced [meen], but when it occurs in today's Good Word, meander, it is pronounced [mee-æn]. Writers seem to have liked today's word for they have created several adjectives, including meandric and the lovely meandrous with its adverb, meandrously (notice that the final E drops out). Enjoying an occasional meander makes you a meanderer.
In Play: Meander may imply actual motion or not: "Al Dente's villa was perched rather high up the mountainside, atop a meandering road that connected it with the highway." If it implies motion, that motion is usually walking: " Lavrenti loved to sit on the front porch of her summer home and watch the deer meander through her yard along the lake's edge." Don't forget the beautiful adjective that goes with today's word; I just love it: "Alison Wanderland loves strolling the meandrous path leading through the woods to her sister's house."
Word History: The noun version of today's word is a bare adjustment of Latin maeander "circuitous windings", borrowed from Greek maiandros. The Greek word is a commonization of Maiandros, the name of the Maeander River in Phrygia, noted for its many sinuous twists and turns. Today that river is the Büyük Menderes, which still flows into the Aegean Sea but now from western Turkey. (I believe we have meandered to the place where we thank Marcia Montgomery for suggesting today's Good Word.)