Meandering

Cassatt: Woodland Stream

A few weeks ago when writing Time to Meander, I was wondering whether my Spanish readers would understand the English word “meander”. I decided to look up the precise Spanish translation and then researched the etymology of the word to see if it had an anglo-saxon origin. What I discovered is kind of interesting (at least to me):

In English, the verb “to meander” means

  1. to follow a winding course and turning course.
  2. to move aimlessly and idly without a fixed direction.

As a noun, “meander” means

  1. circuitous windings or sinuosities
  2. A circuitous journey or excursion; ramble.
  3. An ornamental pattern of winding or intertwining lines.

The origin of the word comes from the Latin “maeander” to mean circuitous windings. And this comes from the Greek maiandros, after the winding Maeander River in Phrygia located in Turkey.

While the Spanish translation for the verb “to meander” may be serpentear, vagar, deambular, andar sin rumbo, or my favorite divagar (literally meaning “to digress”), the noun meandro does in fact exist. In Spanish, meandro is defined as the pronounced curvature of a river; hence after the Maeander River.

And I discovered all of this while taking a little “time to meander” and coincidentally listening to Charlie Parker’s song “Meandering” at the same time. All in all, this information may not be too interesting or even useful, but isn’t that what meandering is all about?

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