wander » wonder

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • The Norm consumed serveral pints before wondering through that building site to the UGC cinema in the Chinese Quarter to see What Women Want. … The pair of them wondered up to the other (empty) end of the bar and John purchased a round. … So Norm, John and Pete wondered off to Brannigans amd necked a few pints. … The film was very good although admittedly a bit of head F&*K with all the clones wondering around. … Norm, John, Pete M, and Emma C quite bizarrely whilst wondering down some stairs in a car park in Windsor. … Anyway, we wondered into “The Old Munk”, drank a few pints and before we knew it, it was kicking out time. … Anyway, after closing we wondered down to Bobby Browns and the bouncers wouldn’t let us in because we were all under 25. So we wondered up to Tiger Tiger but they wanted over 25’s as well. … Then Luke, started wondering around and managed to insult every single person. … So we wondered into the funky Bar Coast and necked a quick pint. … Anyway, after closing that we wondered up Broad Street and ended in Key Lago. … On Saturday, the Norm & John wondered around the shops in Birmingham in the morning. … We wondered down to Bar Med where it was £1.50 for anything behind the bar (which is insane for a Saturday night). Then wondered up to Bridley Place at the bottom of Broad Street. … Plus there we some very fit women wondering around the place in particular on the Daewoo, Jaguar, Lotus and Ferrari stands. (Norm's Land, 2000-01)
  • For example, over the summer a Union Square Park squirrel kissed my finger with it’s little nose. I had noticed the dear little critters scampering around the lawns, and so I went over to stick my finger through the fence. And the sweet, wee creature wondered up to it and touched it lightly with its nose. (Gotham Gazette NYC Newcomer Weblogs, Oct 30, 2003)
  • Delegates wondered up and down the seemingly endless hallways of the huge convention center. (Politics1 News Blog, Dec. 8, 2003)
  • Its been wondering through my mind since we spoke about it. (Opto Ergo Sum, Jan. 25, 2005)
  • Scott McClellan popped back into the veal pen that is the White House work space and was chatting up reporters. Just then, blogger Garrett Graff wondered up. (Wonkette, Mar. 7, 2005)

Confusion (or semantic interference) between _wonder_ and _wander_ is quite old. See for instance the eggcorn/pun _wonderlust_ for _wanderlust_, playfully used by Sinclair Lewis in Main Street (1920):

“I know. The Wonderlust — probably it’s a worse affliction than the Wanderlust. I just wonder — ”

Many of the above examples seem to suggest the act of “wandering while wondering” (cf. “I Wonder as I Wander,” the title of an Appalachian folk song collected by John Jacob Niles and also an autobiography by Langston Hughes).

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/03/08 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Tim Monroe , 2005/03/13 at 7:20 am

    Maybe you should consult with Scott Adams. He has been doing this exact thing for more than five

  2. 2

    Commentary by Ben Zimmer , 2005/03/13 at 8:28 am

    Scott Adams has been wandering and wondering? I assume this is a general comment– Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) prints what he calls “Induhvidual Quotes” in the Dilbert newsletter. But those are mostly idiom blends, not eggcorns.

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