1570s, "confusion, intricacies," from Latin meander "a winding course," from Greek Maiandros, name of a river in Caria noted for its winding course (the Greeks used the name figuratively for winding patterns). In reference to river courses, in English, from 1590s. Adjectival forms are meandrine (1846); meandrous (1650s).
"flow in a winding course" (of rivers), 1610s, from meander (n.). Of a person, "to wander aimlessly" (1831), originally of persons traveling on a river (1821), perhaps influenced by confusion with maunder [OED]. Related: Meandered; meandering.
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