1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saunter
SAUNTER, to loiter, lounge, walk idly or lazily. The derivation of the word has given rise to some curiously far-fetched guesses; thus it has been referred to the Holy Land, La Sainte Terre, where pilgrims lingered and loitered, or to the supposed tendency to idle propensities of those who possess no landed property, sans terre. The most probable suggestions are (1) that of Wedgwood, who connects it with a word in exactly the English sense which appears in various forms in Scandinavian languages, Icel. slentr, Dan. slentre, Swed. slentra, cf. slen, sloth, slunt, lout; this derivation assumes the disappearance of the l. (2) That supported by Skeat, and first propounded by Blackley (Word Gossip, 1869), which connects it with the Middle Eng. aunter, adventure; it may represent the Fr. s'aventurer, to go out on an adventure, and the sense-development would be from the idle and apparently objectless expeditions of knights-errant in search of adventure.