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Consider a person who slowly wanders through a large room. Would such a person "meander about" or "meander around" the room?

John meandered _____ the hall.

Since it is customary to write "walked around," I am tempted to choose the latter option, but it may convey a sense of literally circling the room instead of moving about within it.

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  • Whichever -- "about" perhaps implies a bit more randomness than "around". – Hot Licks Oct 16 '14 at 21:17
  • Take your pick. You can choose pretty much any preposition that implies remaining within the hall: about, around, within, through, in. – Drew Oct 16 '14 at 21:51
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It is worth noting that the verb meander is formed from a noun, meander, from the name of the Meandros River in Asia Minor.

The design known as the Greek Key is called Μαίανδρος (Meandros) in Greek.

Greek Key, Meander

Because meandered around suggests walking the perimeter, I would choose meandered about.

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  • +1 for the historical background. To the extent that a hall is like a river valley, it can be viewed as directional: The flow of the stream never reverses itself, although the path of lowest ground may be exceedingly irregular. For that reason, just as the Meander River meanders through its river valley to the Aegean Sea, so one might speak of a person's meandering through a hall, eventually traversing it from end to end. I'm not sure, though, how much of a sense of "end-to-end by a circuitous route" the term meander retains today. – Sven Yargs Jun 14 '15 at 5:45
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The environmental protection dept of my state says that I should build my house beyond 75 ft from the river. (For a resource critical river the minimum clearance is 200 ft.) It also stipulates that I can maintain a "meandering path" at the river.

The code enforcement officer clarified that meandering means not moving in a straight path, but varying between left and right as one walks along the river. Opposite my house on the river is a little island, too small to have sufficient clearance from the river to build a house. The owner of the island could have a meandering path around that little island along the banks of the river.

Then imagine the school hall and a student meandering around the hall by the edges of the traversable areas of the hall.

Then imagine another student meandering about the hall randomly.

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Neither choice is correct. 'Meander' already contains the notion of 'wandering', so 'meander in' is the best choice.

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    While meander does convey such movement, it is not correct to say John meandered the hall. You need some preposition before the hall. You can use in, about, around, through, etc., but you need some preposition. – Drew Oct 16 '14 at 21:50

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