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)

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 Separated from their family and each other, each boy found a way to straggle home on his own. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2021 These best-guess first estimates are often refined as responses straggle in from more of the 697,000 establishments surveyed each month, including major employers, government agencies and a rotating cast of small businesses. Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2021 Other jurisdictions have also been working out how to handle employees who straggle or refuse to follow vaccination mandates. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 As the students straggle in, those who are about to lead the service gather for a quick prayer, standing on the basketball court near the corner three-point line., 8 Oct. 2021 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 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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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Straggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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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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