strag·​gle | \ ˈstra-gəl How to pronounce straggle (audio) \
straggled; straggling\ ˈstra-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce straggle (audio) \

Definition of straggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to wander from the direct course or way : rove, stray
2 : to trail off from others of its kind little cabins straggling off into the woods



Definition of straggle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a straggling group (as of persons or objects)

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Other Words from straggle


straggler \ ˈstra-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce straggle (audio) \ noun

Examples of straggle in a Sentence

Verb The children straggled in from outside. People straggled off the train. She straggled behind the rest of the group. Branches straggled out and blocked the path.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The architecture of the new buildings — the final pair, including a tower with a skate park out front, will straggle along a few years from now — is a case study in working creatively within severe constraints. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 30 June 2021 The middle seat has become a critical issue for airlines as coronavirus-wary leisure travelers straggle back onto planes. Justin Bachman,, 22 Oct. 2020 The move comes as lawmakers straggle back to Washington for an abbreviated preelection session, as hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill — or much else. Andrew Taylor,, 8 Sep. 2020 These people had crowded into, and on the top of, a few straggling passenger cars that lay uncoupled along the track, in seeming expectation that some one was to come, in due time, and take them off. al, 5 June 2020 In public spaces in the city center, loudspeakers issue automated COVID-19 safety announcements from loudspeakers to straggling passersby. Max S. Kim, The New Yorker, 22 Apr. 2020 There was one, a ride-sharing car waiting to make a right turn while people straggled through the crosswalk. James Barron, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2019 Golfers straggled back and lined up outside the clubhouse for dinner. Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2019 New video surfacing from inside a department store shows a handful of straggling shoppers heading for the exits as Dillard's employees attempt to lock the entrance to the rest of the mall. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, 12 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The next spring the vine leafed out solidly and there, somewhere in the foliage, hung one thin straggle of purple flowers. Murr Brewster, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'straggle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of straggle


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for straggle


Middle English straglen

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Time Traveler for straggle

Time Traveler

The first known use of straggle was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Straggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for straggle



English Language Learners Definition of straggle

: to walk slowly into or from a place in a way that is not continuous or organized
: to move away or spread out from others in a disorganized way


strag·​gle | \ ˈstra-gəl How to pronounce straggle (audio) \
straggled; straggling

Kids Definition of straggle

1 : to walk or move in a slow and disorderly way The children finally straggled in from outside.
2 : to move away or spread out from others of the same kind The cabins straggled into the woods.

Other Words from straggle

straggler \ ˈstra-​glər \ noun


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