"to wander with no fixed destination," 1530s (earliest sense was "to shoot arrows at a mark selected at pleasure or at random," late 15c.); possibly a Midlands dialectal variant of northern English and Scottish rave "to wander, stray," from Middle English raven "to wander, stray, rove" (late 14c.). This is probably from Old Norse rafa "to wander, rove." Or it might be from Old French raver, a late 15c. variant of resver "to stray" (see rave (v.)). Influenced by rover, if not in part a back-formation from it. Related: Roved; roving.