Borrowed from German Wanderlust (urge to travel; love of the ‘great outdoors’), from wandern (to wander; to hike) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wendʰ- (to turn; to wind)) + Lust (desire, wish to do or have something; fun, pleasure) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *lewH- (to separate; to set free; to untie)); analysable as wander +‎ lust.



wanderlust (countable and uncountable, plural wanderlusts)

  1. A strong impulse or longing to travel.
    Synonyms: farsickness (rare), itchy feet, travel bug
    Antonyms: Heimweh (rare), homesickness
    • 1908, Agnes Herbert, “Death of ‘The Baron’”, in Two Dianas in Somaliland: The Record of a Shooting Trip, London: John Lane, The Bodley Head; New York, N.Y.: John Lane Company, OCLC 25042799, page 119:

      Very often we made detours from the main caravan, rejoining it at a given spot, and this spirit of “wanderlust” brought us into a nice quandary one fine day.

    • 1908 December 12, Harry Davids; Tom Springer, “Christmas Sorrows”, in Alfred Holman, editor, The Argonaut, volume LXIII, number 1655, San Francisco, Calif.: Argonaut Publishing Company, OCLC 33214557, page 397, column 1:

      For the long trail stretched before us, for we heard the call, / Left the hearthstone and the homeland, felt the rover’s thrall; / Wandered to the far horizon, sought the joy of life— / Now the wanderlust is waning, heimweh now is rife.

    • 1912, Robert W[illiam] Service, “The Wanderlust”, in Rhymes of a Rolling Stone, Toronto, Ont.: William Briggs, OCLC 17429753, stanza 1, page 123:

      The Wanderlust has lured me to the seven lonely seas, / Has dumped me on the tailing-piles of dearth; / The Wanderlust has haled me from the morris chairs of ease, / Has hurled me to the ends of all the earth.

    • 1933, Minna Moscherosch Schmidt, compiler, “Germany [Paula Becker Modersohn (1876–1907)]”, in 400 Outstanding Women of the World and Costumology of Their Time, Chicago, Ill.: Minna Moscherosch Schmidt, OCLC 204084, page 207:

      They were deliriously happy for a few years, but always her soul felt the call of wanderlust.

    • 1932, August C[arl] Mahr, “Introduction”, in The Visit of the “Rurik” to San Francisco in 1816 (Stanford University Publications, University Series ; History, Economics, and Political Science; volume II, number 2), Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press; London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, OCLC 651367948, pages 17–18:

      Apart from a visit to Paris in 1825 he [Adelbert von Chamisso] enjoyed the peace of his home and of his study at Berlin until the hour of his death without any further visitations of Wanderlust.
    • 1937 April, “New Publications in the Leisure Time Field”, in Recreation, volume XXXI, number 1, New York, N.Y.: National Recreation Association, OCLC 777922591, page 55, column 1:

      If you find yourself suffering from an attack of Wanderlust, this is the book for you!

    • 1972 April–June, Visvanath Chatterjee, “E. V. Lucas: Prince of Essayists”, in The Calcutta Review, volume III, number 4 (New Series), Calcutta, West Bengal: University of Calcutta, ISSN 0045-3846, OCLC 487321879, page 317:

    • 1975, John E. Fitch; Robert J. Lavenberg, “Introduction”, in Arthur C. Smith, editor, Tidepool and Nearshore Fishes of California (California Natural History Guides; 38), Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.; London: University of California Press, →ISBN, page 1:

      The shallow waters immediately adjacent to California’s 1200 miles of coastline offer a wide variety of habitats where at least 250 kinds of fishes live out all or some of their lives. […] The eggs and larvae of some may drift seaward and lead a pelagic existence, but once their wanderlust is satisfied, the juveniles return to nearshore areas where they take up life as their parents did before them.

    • 1987, John Wilson Foster, “Betraying Presences: Fictional Tidings from Cork, Galway, and the Midlands—Daniel Corkery, Brinsley MacNamara, Edward E. Lysaght”, in Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival: A Changeling Art (Irish Studies), Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, published 1993, →ISBN, part III (The Infinite Pain of Self-realization: The Realist Reply), page 183:

      His death brings to light the thwarted ambitions, bridled emotions, unfulfilled loves, or unsatisfied wanderlusts of his surviving friends.

    • 2000, Rebecca Solnit, “Tracing a Headland: An Introduction”, in Wanderlust: A History of Walking, New York, N.Y.; London: Penguin Books, →ISBN, part I (The Pace of Thoughts), page 6:

      Or perhaps walking should be called movement, not travel, for one can walk in circles or travel around the world immobilized in a seat, and a certain kind of wanderlust can only be assuaged by the acts of the body itself in motion, not the motion of the car, boat, or plane.

    • 2010, Megan Speers, “Foreword”, in Wanderlust: A Story Told in 50 Wood Engravings (Graphic Novels; 3), Erin, Ont.: The Porcupine’s Quill, →ISBN, page 7:

      What is it, about this wanderlust? The compulsive desire to travel, surely; to reach out for spaces where the serendipity of experience can unfold of itself into a life journey?

    • 2020, Jeffery William Childers Jr., “The Troubadours”, in Orphan Mysticism: Gnostic Empathy, [Morrisville, N.C.]: Lulu.com, →ISBN, page 64:

      I saw the wind brush a swirl of dust / from the surface of a sleeping form, / Awakening a hidden thrush / of wanderlusts it had ignored, […]

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]



wanderlust (third-person singular simple present wanderlusts, present participle wanderlusting, simple past and past participle wanderlusted)

  1. (intransitive) To feel a strong impulse or longing to travel.
    • 1922, Bull’s-Eye, New Orleans, La.: Associated Rice Millers of America, OCLC 45807302, page 6, column 2:

      Yes, he probably saw a picture of the South Sea islands last night, and now he is wanderlusting.

  2. (intransitive) To roam or travel widely.
    • 1915, “A-No. 1” [pseudonym; Leon Ray Livingston], The Ways of the Hobo [], 6th edition, Erie, Pa.: The A-No. 1 Publishing Company, OCLC 55782361, page 85:

      “Be assured that we will never weary listening to tales related by one who has wanderlusted so many years,” flattered Mrs. Cunningham, […]

    • 1916 January, “To Takoma Park—A Self-explanatory Letter”, in Elliot R. Downing, editor, Nature-Study Review, volume XII, number 1, Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Publishing Co., OCLC 312949277, page 37:

      It was the joy of our lives to be once more “hitting the trail,” lustily as ever, Sunday last, under the brave lead of one who started the community hike here, and who, after three months wanderlusting in other lands must rejoice to find that a few brave scouts have kept up the good work here and made of us “some hikers.”

    • 1969, Michael Feld, Super Shelley’s Mein Kampf, London: Ross, OCLC 79680, page 168:

      Moroney wanderlusted around the business houses, taking a two hour lunch on principle. People inside dealing and dialling, filing and invoicing, collating and collecting, debiting and crediting.

    • 1992, Gayle Pemberton, “Is it Maya? Or: Notes from Behind the Veil”, in The Hottest Water in Chicago: Notes of a Native Daughter, Hanover, N.H.; London: Wesleyan University Press; University Press of New England, published 1998, →ISBN, part 1, page 23:

      I went there partly because I had shown signs of terminal wanderlust – and the West Coast is the premier place in the U.S. for wanderlusting around – and partly because L.A. is such a mixture of fact, fantasy, and illusion that, as an Americanist, I felt I had to go.

    • 2007, Steven T. Savage, chapter 22, in Splattery, Bloomington, Ind.: iUniverse, published 19 May 2010, →ISBN, page 123:

      On a one-way. Roaming holiday. Wanderlusting.


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]



wanderlust m or f (in variation) (uncountable)

  1. wanderlust (a strong impulse or longing to travel)

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