Is there a word that means "walk around nonchalantly" in the same way to breeze means "to walk somewhere quickly and confidently"

I want to use the word in this sentence:

The crime is intense over here; you can't walk around non chalantly.

  • 1
    If you're not completely tied to using an expression about walking, another way of expressing this idea (that you have to be attentive in a dangerous area) would be: "The crime is intense over here; you have to keep your wits about you." (you could add "at all times" or "everywhere you go" to the end)
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 9:02

13 Answers 13


In general, for "walk around nonchalantly" I would suggest stroll:

    1. To wander on foot; to ramble idly or leisurely; to rove.
    1. To go somewhere with ease.

But in your context I think "stroll" is almost a little too focused, and I would use the almost-but-not-quite-synonym wander:

    1. To move without purpose or specified destination; often in search of livelihood.
    1. To go somewhere indirectly or at varying speeds; to move in a curved path.

I would keep the preposition "around" in that case. Also it seems a little off to make "crime" the subject of the sentence. I would write:

This is a bad area [for crime]; you can't wander around over here.

But "stroll" sounds more natural in some contexts, for example I would wander streets but stroll in a park:

This is a bad area; I wouldn't go for a stroll in the park.

See also amble.

  • 2
    This is the best suggestion by far. Many of the other answers are technically accurate, but don’t really sound right in this sentence. I’d also consider the adverb “just,” as in: “You can’t just go for a walk.”
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 20:29
  • 2
    I like amble, actually.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Davislor I couldn't help mentally appending "into Mordor" for a slight misquote - but that's perhaps rather fitting
    – Chris H
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 20:56
  • @ChrisH A great example of good, even catchy, English writing.
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 21:14
  • 1
    @Araucaria-Nothereanymore., I don't really participate here, so I'll leave it to the active users. My preferred option isn't offered - to make it the choice of the individual user. It would require a UI change. Ambling on...
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 21:34


walk or move in a leisurely manner.


  • 2
    +1 from Texas... Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 22:17
  • 3
    That word sounds very USA-centric to me, as well as very colloquial.
    – gidds
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 22:54
  • 1
    This is what I would use. Perhaps it is specific to AmEng, but in that context it fits perfectly.
    – Tashus
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 1:08
  • 1
    I would probably include an example of how to fit it into the OP’s sentence. As a Texan, I like mosey, but there’s “mosey along”, “mosey on up/down”, etc. It might not be that easy for a learner to use it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 20:07
  • 1
    Why would I change your answer if you like it the way it is? I’ll just refrain from upvoting it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 20:13

Consider saunter:

to walk about in an idle or leisurely manner.

[Merriam Webster]

  • 5
    Would you really use that in the example sentence?
    – Barmar
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 13:23
  • 2
    @Barmar As a native speaker, no I wouldn't.
    – Tashus
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 1:07
  • @Barmar, neither would I, but I also wouldn't use 'nonchalantly' in OP's context. I prefer 'obliviously'.
    – mcalex
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 6:24
  • 4
    Not sure if it is just modern usage, but in my understanding "saunter" would convey more of an mental attitude than "stroll". e.g. "He was late for school, but just sauntered along through the gate."
    – Jayfang
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 9:36
  • 2
    Native speaker & I absolutely would. Upvoted because this is what came to my mind. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 18:08

I like wander around/through as suggested by randomhead. The other words in that answer are fine synonyms in some contexts, but to me don't seem to fit the sentence you're building. Here are some other possibilities.

A tourist normally might meander through an area, which you can discourage:

to wander aimlessly or casually without urgent destination

Or if you mean that someone should not stay here longer than necessary, you could tell them not to linger:

to be slow in parting or in quitting something

This does not mean they should avoid moving slowly, but rather that they should leave soon.



move slowly and idly in a particular direction. "Ruth dawdled back through the wood"

Oxford Languages

It's the first word that came into my mind when I read the title, and it fits your example very well:

The crime is intense over here; you can't dawdle around

"Dawdle" has negative connotations of lethargy, aimlessness, and laziness, unlike "stroll" which is quite a positive word. People enjoy strolling, especially in good weather. Ambling is also an enjoyable and pleasant activity. But dawdling doesn't idiomatically share the same recreational usages (perhaps aided by its primary definition, which is to waste time and be slow).

'Dawdle' fits your example in the same way 'loiter' might for another meaning (you don't have to be moving to loiter).

"You can't stroll over here" means "quit your nonchalant and confident behaviour, don't traipse up here as if you own the place, this is a crime scene"

"Don't dawdle around here" is less complimentary towards the dawdler, perhaps implying that the speaker has the impression that the dawdler is dopey/clueless/lost.

  • 1
    I was gonna answer with loiter, but I see it was already suggested here. The first one which came to my mind. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 17:01

Traipse - Definition of Traipse by Merriam-Webster:

to go on foot : walk; also : to walk or travel about without apparent plan but with or without a purpose.


This might be unique to British English:


mooch about/around - Wander in a casual or listless manner.


(This definition says that in North America the meaning is "Ask for or obtain (something) without paying for it.")

  • 3
    Californian here; can confirm that I've only ever used "mooch" with the second meaning, usually with associated shame. "Hey sorry to mooch, but can you cover this?" or even "Sorry to be a mooch, but I'll get you back."
    – muad-dweeb
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 20:20
  • 1
    @muad-dweeb I'm suddenly understanding the song at the end of the Blues Brothers completely differently! I really thought "Minnie the Moocher" was a girl who casually wandered about, until this day!
    – Aaron F
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 16:01

If limited to a single word I'd use "walk".

  • Crime is bad here; you can't walk around.

It is succinct, and the meaning and reason is obvious from the context. But, it feels a little bare and severe, especially coupled with can't! I would be most likely to couple it with "just" to add some nuance, implying that walking is not something you do thoughtlessly or habitually, but something you would do "only" with consideration and care.

  • Crime is bad here; you don't just walk around. (walking happens, but only with care and sufficient necessity.)
  • Crime is bad here; folks just don't walk around. (walking is something that is vanishingly rare)
  • Crime is bad here; you can't walk just anywhere. (walking is fine in some places but not others.)

I think the top voted answers' words are correct, but their definitions are dumb. I suggest:

  • To stroll -> to walk (more importantly) without caring when you get there, or (less importantly) without caring where you're going
  • To wander -> to walk (more importantly) without caring where you're going, or (less importantly) when you'll get there.
  • To linger -> to stay (for longer than is strictly speaking necessary) in some place, because you like the things that are there.
  • To dawdle -> to stay (for longer than is strictly speaking necessary) in some place, because you don't want to do the things that you would have to do if you were elsewhere.
  • To meander -> to move slowly (doesn't care where or when, and doesn't use force, but does follow a path on the map that's the same now as it was before) somewhere, like an apparently random river (can also be applied to footsteps).
  • To mosey -> to travel (does care where, but doesn't care when; is pobably slow, but slow is not actually part of this definition; and certainly doesn't use any force) a path.
  • To amble -> to walk (same thing as "mosey", but it's taken from latin. If you're learning English, then you should know that many, many words are the same in germanic and latin, but we treat them consistently differently.) It doesn't use force, because that's one of the things that we treat differently.
  • To traipse -> to walk (to focus on planting your steps, without caring where or when you're going, or how efficiently you're going there).

Note that "nonchalant" means to do something while doing (or trying to appear to do) nothing suspicious, which has nothing whatsoever to do with any of these words. I assume you use this word while asking this question due to not knowing the right word to use.

  • Interesting. I used it because I saw in Lexico the following definition: feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm.
    – m26a
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 9:55

If you think of walking around confidently, you can use strut

to walk with a proud gait

[Merriam Webster]

  • Does it have any snob connotation?
    – m26a
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 14:20
  • 1
    @Matheus It does have a bit of a snobbish or proud connotation, but I think it will work well for a warning - "you can't just strut there willy nilly, it's a low-security area."
    – mishan
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 16:57

You could say the person was walking in a cavalier manner

  • 2
    Please add a dictionary definition or something that back up your answer
    – Void
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 19:58

The crime is intense over here; you can't ignorantly wander about.

The crime is intense over here; you can't go gallivanting around.

The crime is intense over here; you can't just go for a promenade.

The crime is intense over here; best not to meander much.

The crime is intense over here; you can't just knock about mindlessly.

The crime is intense over here; you can't just parade around heedlessly.

(knock about or knock around vb

  1. (intr, adverb) to wander about aimlessly)

heed·less /ˈhēdləs/ adjective showing a reckless lack of care or attention. "“Elaine!” she shouted, heedless of attracting unwanted attention"


"Gambol" is a good one, and perfect for your purposes, I would say.

Per Google:

run or jump about playfully.
"the mare gamboled toward her"

  • 2
    It's never going to sound like you're not warning about crimes committed by Jabberwocks if you use that. Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 0:23

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