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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The middle seat has become a critical issue for airlines as coronavirus-wary leisure travelers straggle back onto planes. Justin Bachman,, "Southwest Opens Middle Seats, Leaving Delta, Alaska as Holdouts," 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,, "Second stimulus check updates: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate to vote on ’targeted’ coronavirus aid package," 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, "Mobile’s statue: Who was Confederate Adm. Raphael Semmes?," 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, "The Street Life of Seoul, Rearranged by Coronavirus," 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, "Relaxing, Weird, Beautiful: Riding the Bus on the New 14th Street," 11 Oct. 2019 Golfers straggled back and lined up outside the clubhouse for dinner. Los Angeles Times, "‘Rez golf’: Where fairways are dirt and hazards include goats," 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, "Police continue search for masked man who sparked panic inside Memorial City Mall," 12 Aug. 2019 As the passengers exit the bus and straggle inside the fenced-in military grounds, the camera pulls back to reveal an armed watchtower in the center and an American flag hovering over it all. Aja Romano, Vox, "The Terror: Infamy turns America’s WWII internment camps into a bleak ghost story," 19 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, "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

Time Traveler for straggle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for straggle

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Straggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for straggle


How to pronounce straggle (audio)

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!