'Wonder' vs 'Wander': What's the Difference the Two?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 27, 2023

Wonder and wander are spelled differently, but they’re two different words with two completely different definitions. They also don’t sound exactly alike. So, what’s the difference between the two? We’ll answer that in this article, plus teach you how to use both correctly in a sentence.

The short answer is:

  • ‘Wander’ is a verb that means ‘walk aimlessly’ or ‘go astray.’ It might also mean to ‘move’ or ‘travel.’
  • ‘Wonder’ means to think, question, or ponder.

‘Wonder’ vs. ‘Wander’: What’s the Difference?

As we just learned, the difference between ‘wonder’ and ‘wander’ is that the former means to think, question, or ponder. The latter means ‘to walk aimlessly, move, travel, or go astray.’

How to Use ‘Wander’ vs. ‘Wonder’ Correctly

Let’s get a bit clearer on how to use each verb correctly before we go any further.

Use ‘wander’ when you’re talking about moving about aimlessly.

However, you should use ‘wonder’ when you’re talking about the act of thinking or pondering something.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Wonder’ and ‘Wander’

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ‘wonder’ is marvel or miracle. It also means a feeling of doubt or uncertainty. It might also refer to attention or awe at something new or mysterious.

The same dictionary defines ‘wander’ as 'to move around without an aim or goal, ramble, stray (physically or in thought),' and 'to roam over.'

Synonyms of the word include:

  • Float
  • Cruise
  • Roam
  • Traipse
  • Rove

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Wonder’ and ‘Wander’

Wondering how to pronounce these words? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘wonder’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: wUHndUH
  • To pronounce ‘wander’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: wAHndUH

How to Use ‘Wonder’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what it means and how to pronounce it, let’s take a look at some examples of how to use ‘wonder’ in a sentence.

  • I wonder if my grandma’s still coming to visit. With the storm coming, she may cancel her trip.
  • It’s no wonder you accidentally Your phone died, so your alarm couldn’t wake you up.
  • I’m not going to sit around and wonder if this guy is ever going to call me. I’m moving on.
  • I wonder how many patients die in this hospital every year. I’m scared to go into surgery now.

How to Use ‘Wander’ in a Sentence 

Now, let’s see some examples of ‘wander’ in a sentence.

  • I’ve learned not to wander alone in the woods after watching a few scary movies.
  • They wandered around the neighborhood until their mom got home from work because they lost their house keys.
  • After the fourth period, I decided to wander around the courtyard.
  • She wandered off the hiking trail and got lost from the rest of the group.

Final Thoughts on ‘Wonder’ and ‘Wander’

To recap, we learned that while ‘wonder’ and ‘wander’ sound similar (but not quite the same), they mean two different things. We learned that ‘wonder’ means to think or ponder and ‘wander’ means to ‘walk aimlessly.’ Therefore, these words should never be used interchangeably.

If you ever get stuck or need help with another word, you can always come back and browse our library of articles dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases in the English language.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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