English Synonyms and Antonyms
To wander (Anglo-Saxon windan, wind) is to move in an indefinite or indeterminate way which may or may not be a departure from a prescribed way; to deviate (Latin de, from, and via, a way) is to turn from a prescribed or right way, physically, mentally, or morally, usually in an unfavorable sense; to diverge (Latin di, apart, and vergo, incline, tend) is to turn from a course previously followed or that something else follows, and has no unfavorable implication; to digress (Latin di, apart, aside, and gradior, step) is used only with reference to speaking or writing; to err is used of intellectual or moral action, and of the moral with primary reference to the intellectual, an error being viewed as in some degree due to ignorance. Range, roam, and rove imply the traversing of considerable, often of vast, distances of land or sea; range commonly implies a purpose; as, cattle range for food; a hunting-dog ranges a field for game. Roam and rove are often purposeless, and always without definite aim. To swerve or veer is to turn suddenly from a prescribed or previous course, and often but momentarily; veer is more capricious and repetitious; the horse swerves at the flash of a sword; the wind veers; the ship veers with the wind. To stray is to go in a somewhat purposeless way aside from the regular path or usual limits or abode, usually with unfavorable implication; cattle stray from their pastures; an author strays from his subject; one strays from the path of virtue. Stray is in most uses a lighter word than wander. Ramble, in its literal use, is always a word of pleasant suggestion, but in its figurative use always somewhat contemptuous; as, rambling talk.
deviate, digress, diverge, err, ramble, range, roam, rove, stray, swerve, veer, wander