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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from straggle


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

Examples of straggle in a Sentence


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

An early winter had set in by November, and the ragged remains of the French army straggled back toward home, with thousands dying from cold, hunger and disease. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Remains of Napoleonic General Believed to Have Been Found in Russian Park," 12 July 2019 The last straggling commuters heading home Thursday were treated to a Bay Area sunset of epic proportion. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Epic Bay Area sunset: 15 great Instagram shots of Thursday night’s colors," 28 June 2019 Felipe Alonso Hoyos, too shy to make conversation with a woman, leans against the wooden bar with a friend, watching dancers straggle in and out. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column One: For lonely men in Spanish towns, the ‘caravan of women’ brings hope of love," 14 May 2019 As the group approached, the shelter’s glass doors swung open and the migrants straggled through, some carrying kids who were too young to walk. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Texas border chaos: Courts, families, government collide in zero-tolerance debacle," 22 June 2018 The elevator opened to the lobby, where straggling gamblers and bachelor party attendees were greeted by the sight of Carlson carrying the Stanley Cup through the MGM casino. Adam Kilgore,, "What happened in Vegas: All night with the Capitals and the Stanley Cup," 8 June 2018 While lines stretched for over an hour, buses arrived in destination to Santa Clarita, with a few straggling behind in traffic for several hours. Steven J. Horowitz, Billboard, "Kanye West and Kid Cudi Debut 'Kids See Ghosts' Album in Santa Clarita," 8 June 2018 Longtime customers still straggle in for beer and alcoholic drinks, but now people come in droves from all over for good food. Marilyn Hagerty, Bon Appetit, "Marilyn Hagerty, of Viral Olive Garden Restaurant Review Fame, Reviews the Broken Drum in North Dakota," 6 June 2018 Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in recent years along the straggling boundary, which stretches for about 1,200 miles. Maria Abi-habib And Hari Kumar,, "India and Pakistan Agree to Truce on Kashmir Border," 30 May 2018

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, "Attack of the purple ‘bean trees’," 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about straggle

Statistics for straggle

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for straggle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on straggle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with straggle

Spanish Central: Translation of straggle

Nglish: Translation of straggle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of straggle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on straggle

What made you want to look up straggle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!