I'm looking for a single word, probably a verb, to take the place of moved around a lot.

"I was in a military family. By the time I was nine, I lived in 6 different cities. We _________ [moved around a lot]."

It's okay if it's a verb-article-noun construction, but the verb should be clear that a lot of moving has been done.

And travelled doesn't quite cut it.

  • 1
    Very similar: english.stackexchange.com/questions/383655/… Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 23:42
  • 6
    I wonder what’s wrong with “moved around a lot” It seems like the best, clearest set of words to express the idea (and is likely what 99%,of the population would come up with) given that you’ve nixed peripatetic as too obscure.
    – Jim
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 4:57
  • Also very similar english.stackexchange.com/q/36190/17611 Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 7:06
  • Almost a duplicate of :What do you call a group of people that move a lot? wherein the answers are pretty much the same.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 13:42
  • Why not use a phrase instead of s ingle word? 'Always on the move' seems to cut it. "I was in a military family. By the time I was nine, I lived in 6 different cities. We were always on the move, constantly uprooting and resettling in newer places.". Just a suggestion.
    – SagarU
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 18:40

9 Answers 9


How about "nomadic" or "nomads", as in "We were very nomadic" or "we were nomads."



Living the life of a nomad; wandering.



1 A member of a people that travels from place to place to find fresh pasture for its animals and has no permanent home.

‘the withering of their grasslands forced the nomads of the Sahara to descend into the Nile valley’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nomadic https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/nomad

Another option might be "transient" is the word you're looking for? As in, "we were very transient."



1 A person who is staying or working in a place for a short time only.


Edit: moved Nomad/Nomadic to the top; left Transient in so the comments still make sense.

  • 5
    I like nomadic as an adjective and transiently as an adverb. I'll see if I can make it work.
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 23:57
  • 3
    Of the current answers, I think nomadic is the best fit. It’s metaphorical—a military family isn’t literally a tribe of nomads—but it neatly conveys a sense of frequent moving and of not putting down roots.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 0:04
  • 1
    We were nomadic, or some variant, suits my needs. Thank you
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 1:43
  • 1
    Downvoted because of just how bad of a suggest 'transient' is. 'Transient' makes it sound like the family phased in and out of existence in some kind of existential nightmare. It's a shame because 'Nomadic' is perfect.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:12
  • 3
    Can I suggest that you edit the answer so that "nomadic" is at the top? From the comments, that is the solution accepted by the OP, and I agree that it's much better than 'transient' (I'd even be tempted to remove 'transient' altogether).
    – arboviral
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:22

We were peripatetic; Oxford Dictionaries:

Travelling from place to place, in particular working or based in various places for relatively short periods.

‘the peripatetic nature of military life’

  • 3
    Perfect fit but too advanced a word for my audience
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 23:59

Relocated works well:

"I was in a military family. By the time I was nine, I lived in 6 different cities. We relocated frequently."

Relocated (Oxford)

Move to a new place and establish one's home or business there.

There's an example of the word being used in the context you have mentioned on The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website:

In 2012, there were over 1.2 million children in U.S. military families, and more than three-fourths lived in households headed by enlisted military service members. Military families with children frequently relocate, often moving across state lines or to foreign countries, and move every two to three years, on average.

  • 3
    Yes, relocated works well with an adverb like frequently.
    – Stu W
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 0:00
  • or were relocated frequently, conveying the impression that you'd rather not have been, but had no choice. If that's what you want to convey, that is.
    – nigel222
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:54

Though not a verb, I would restructure the sentence to use something like "rootless" or "unrooted"/ "uprooted."

"A rootless, though relatively happy, stage of my life."


[root-lis, roo t-] 

having no roots.
having no basis of stability; unsteady:
a rootless feeling resulting from economic and social change.
having no place or position in society; not in accord with the environment:
the homeless, rootless wanderer.
  • The OP has speciified a verb which can take the place of "move around a lot". Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 18:41

Migrated or Meandered


verb 1.1 (of a person) move to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.


noun 1.1[in singular] An indirect or aimless journey.


Itinerant is literally 100% the word you want.

As defined by Oxford Dictionairies:


Travelling from place to place.


A person who travels from place to place.


How about an "official" military term: PCSed. PCS = Permanent Change of Station. You can always count on the military for a good acronym.

"I was in a military family. By the time I was nine, I lived in 6 different cities. We PCSed almost every year."

  • 1
    Another military oxymoron. I still remember being received once at a new TDY with: "Is this copy an original original, or only an original?" Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 19:09
  • Another military acronym. I can't keep up. SNAFU.
    – user39425
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 3:35

"Displace" works well:


MEANING OF DISPLACE: (VERB) Take over the place, position, or role of.

  • 1
    Being displaced carries the side meaning of being unconsentingly forced to move instead of deciding to do so... Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 11:37

Wanderer should be the ideal word.

  • @Glorfindel OP did say "probably a verb" indicating they would be open to suggestions if something interesting was presented.
    – subdigit
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:34
  • 3
    Still, this is a substandard answer as it doesn't include an explanation why it's ideal (e.g. a dictionary reference).
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 14:53
  • There is no need for an explanation in a scenario. It does not entails any ambiguity or has an extended meaning. I think OP can manage that. Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.