[Vocabulary] The differences between stroll and perambulate

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chinyucherng

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Aug 13, 2010
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Hi,
I have difficulty in understanding the differences between

1.stroll:to walk somewhere in a slow relaxed way.
2.perambulate:to walk or journey around a place, especially one made for pleasure.

The above definitions are from Oxford Advanced learner's dictionary.
Although both sound like taking a walk to me, my English teacher said that they are very different.
 

Tullia

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Hi,
I have difficulty in understanding the differences between

1.stroll:to walk somewhere in a slow relaxed way.
2.perambulate:to walk or journey around a place, especially one made for pleasure.

The above definitions are from Oxford Advanced learner's dictionary.
Although both sound like taking a walk to me, my English teacher said that they are very different.


Well... hmm, tricky.

Firstly, avoid perambulate most of the time. It's almost archaic and not in general modern conversational usage. About the only time I can imagine it being used nowadays is to describe a tour of inspection, such as a General perambulating along a line of soldiers, checking how well presented they were, and even then it feels unnatural.

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"Perambulate" perhaps implies no general direct destination. One would perambulate "around a park looking at flowers", or "through a wood", "along a path", but not "to the shops". One could "perambulate through the park on the way to the shops" though. It's about the experiences on the journey, not where you end up - and the origin of the word should give you that clue: from the Latin "perambulare" - to walk through.
It's a gentle walk, it is not hurried or forced. In modern English it's probably better to use a word or phrase such as stroll around, meander or wander.


A stroll can have that meaning, but can also have a destination - one can "stroll down to the shops". A stroll is still a gentle kind of walk, though.


I hope that helps.
 

BobK

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It's interesting to reflect that 'pram' was originally an abbreviation of 'perambulator', and is not unlike what is called in Am English a 'stroller'.
 
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