A walk (right-click > synonyms) in the park


Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

He also called himself an ‘immoralist’ and unknowingly influenced some of history’s worst extreme right-wing dictators – buuuuut anyway, his views on walking were pretty astute. After all, he was a great thinker himself.

Walking is therapeutic – well, depending on where you are. Your mind probably won’t hatch a golden little moment of Zen whilst walking across burning coals – but in a nicer, less agonising situation, there really is nothing like a good ol’ walk.

In fact, it was whilst walking when I pondered the ‘walk’ and how the wonderfully nuanced language that is English, bestows many a name for the simple act of natural transportation. The word ‘walk’, though is so plain… Why not go for a ‘walk’ in Blandsville to get a vanilla ice-cream on a non-waffle cone? Here’s how to get around…

Wander – To wander is to embark without any real idea of where you are going, or where you are hoping to go.  At no point during a wander can you whip out the phone and check Google maps, because you’ll instantly spoil the romanticism of being blissfully lost. Wandering, though, can carry a more negative connotation – like how escaped mental patients will not ‘walk’ the streets, but they will ‘wander’…

Traipse – Traipse evokes a sense of whimsy – a free-spirited journey that kind of goes nowhere, but you don’t care. It’s a little effeminate, but ideally applied to quaint travel situations – such as a traipse through a Tuscan vineyard. NEVER  traipse in an urban setting. Traipsing through the streets of NYC makes you sound weird and a bit dangerous, in that weird way that fully-grown men wearing frilly dresses are dangerous.

Meander – Similar to wander, but with a bit more purpose to it. It carries the same explorative/introspective quality of wander, but won’t make you sound like a wayward senile. It’s also applied to speech to describe non-brevity, but when it’s your feet doing the talking – there’s nothing wrong with meandering about.

Stroll – A stroll is the classic variation of a walk. It’s quite apt for a walk where you aren’t necessarily on a mission to get from a to b; but you know where you want to go – you’re just going to enjoy the trip there. A stroll is cruisey and confident – but not cocky, where it becomes more of a strut. A stroll is really, the ultimate walk-lover’s walk.

Scuttle – A scuttle is great for when you are sweeping the seabed for tasty algae and dead plankton – or if you are just off for an afternoon of sightseeing in the coral reef. Admittedly, this is a little more conducive for members in the crustacean world than humans… but it’s a cool word.

Strut – It’s almost impossible to see the word ‘strut’ without the  groovy falsetto harmonies of the Bee Gees resounding in your head. The strut is a cocksure, ‘look-at-me, i’m-pretty-amazing-yeah?’ walk designed to make the journey from one hotspot to another hotspot as cool as possible. Also seen on catwalks, the strut is, almost literally, sex on legs. This means though, that there is massive risk. Should you falter during a strut and shatter the illusion of cool, you cannot strut again. Now, you must shuffle meekly.

Leg-it – There’s an intentional sense of urgency here… which makes sense because you’d only really leg-it if you’re late for a train but have too much pride to run in public, or perhaps after cutting a big fart in a crowd and you need to escape the scene before the search for the smelly culprit commences.

Jaunt – A jaunt is somewhat frivolous, possibly mischievous.  Technically-speaking, a jaunt is a quick, pleasure-seeking trip. Make of that what you will.

Frolic – Frolicking is a perhaps closer to skipping, or bounding than walking, but whatever. The ideal frolic is a joyful romp through something Monet would have delighted in painting. Flowers, wheat, babbling brooks – all that shit. It’s difficult for a man who has passed through puberty to frolic in a non-ironic manner. Unless it’s at a beer factory, then it is perfectly acceptable – in fact, it’s all but required.

March – A march is militaristic walk, literally referring to the movement of armies of foot soldiers, as well as the shouting, stomping, synchronised walking they also seem to do in movies (where someone always falls over and is picked up by the main characters, building character-bonds and respect for the protagonist). In the civilian world, a march retains its combative connotations. You’ll only ever march up to someone (always up to them, never down) to give them a brutal vitriolic spray – or, if you are 60, to return to the grocery store to confront the checkout staff as to why they overcharged you for the frozen peas.

Saunter – Brief, but wonderful, a true saunter is rare, but when it happens, you’ll know. You’ll just know.

BONUS Dad joke!

Q. What do you call a fly without any wings?

A. A Walk!

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One Comment on “A walk (right-click > synonyms) in the park”

  1. Petri Fish says:

    You refer in your post to a ‘shuffle’, Please elaborate?


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