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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Is there a single word for thinking while walking?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (36575points) 1 month ago

I think I heard this word eons ago and have forgotten it.

Walking and thinking. Walking a bit aimlessly lost in thought.


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32 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar


Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 That’s a superb word, but it lacks the element of thinking while moving about. At least, it lacks that when I looked it up.

Edit to add: I just looked it up again, and you are correct!!

smudges's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Where did you find a definition that equals walking and thinking? Everything I found simply said “travelling from place to place” with nothing about thinking.

smudges's avatar

The closest I found was from reddit: “In dutch there is a word for this, ‘ijsberen’, which would literally translate to ‘polarbearing’. I think it only covers it if the pensive walking is done anxiously.”

or also from reddit: Perambulate is a kind of lazy, wistful walking, during which one might chew some lazy wistful thoughts.

also from reddit, and I really like this one, but don’t think it’s a word, but we could adopt it as one: cognambulate. Isn’t that great?!

And this bit of wisdom from Sometimes a single verb does not suffice, and one must break convention by inventing new words.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@smudges I got it from vocabulary dot com: Link.

It explains that the word means to describe how Aristotle taught his students.

I was also thinking of the word perambulate.

smudges's avatar

^^ I see, but it still doesn’t quite satisfy me. I read similar definitions on other sites regarding Aristotle, and I guess if you’re walking and teaching, then you’re also thinking about your words.

But when I found out my brother had died, I walked almost without realizing I was walking because I was so deep in thought. My mind was working harder than my feet.

At any rate, if it satisfies you, that’s what counts since you wrote the question! I still like cognambulate. 8)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am open to other words. I’m not completely satisfied with peripatetic.

raum's avatar

Are you thinking of “meander”?

It doesn’t mean walking and thinking at the same time. Though it could describe both. Fits “walking a bit aimlessly lost in thought”.

If it’s not “meander”, this is going to give me a brain itch.

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janbb's avatar

I don’t think there is a word that means both things. I’ve been waling around the house and wracking my brain….....

janbb's avatar

@gondwanalon That doesn’t mean walking as well.

gondwanalon's avatar

@janbb To me it does. I frequently go on long walks through the wood and along the beach and my mind wonders though it’s own walks through time and space.

rebbel's avatar


RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Parkour requires lots of thinking while moving.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, “pacing” might fit the situation, in the sense of walking back and forth or in a little circle, deep in thought. It’s often associated with problem-solving. But I don’t think it’s a tight fit for your application, which sounds a bit more like ruminating while strolling rather than an intense thinking session on foot.

kritiper's avatar

@Jeruba Gets my vote. GA!

smudges's avatar

I think the has it right: Sometimes a single verb does not suffice, and one must break convention by inventing new words.

raum's avatar

@smudges I love making up words! But I think OP is asking for help to recall a specific word. Collective help to scratch his brain itch. :P

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^I was looking to recall a word, but making up new ones is fun!

janbb's avatar

Musandering? A made up word.

Strauss's avatar

This was the first word that came to mind when I saw this q. I looked it up to see how accurate my recall is gives a second definition on this word:
to traverse in order to examine or inspect.

janbb's avatar

@Strauss Aha pretty close, but then the question arises, does that mean to examine something external like a broken fence or missing shingles or does that really mean to think internally?

I still question whether there is one word.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Thank you, @Strauss. I also thought of that word and was unaware of that definition. I appreciate the included definition. I am also unsure of its ultimate match with internal thinking processes, but it and peripatetic are good words.

smudges's avatar

Engrossed doesn’t cover the walking part. 8\

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

How about distracted? Like distracted driving, but walking.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Good suggestions, but peripatetic and perambulate are best.

Jeruba's avatar

Good words. They don’t mean thinking, though.

I don’t think there is a single word for that idea in English.

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flutherother's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I think Jeruba has the last word on this question, I’ll just add this which I heard this morning on the BBC. I hope it interests you too.

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