Both of her cats were strays that she found wandering in the neighborhood. Verb
The airplane strayed off course.
our straying son swears he's returned to the straight and narrow Adjectivestray sightings of UFO's, none of which have been rigorously analyzed by scientists
Recent Examples on the Web
In late October, a woman found the Great Pyrenees wandering the streets of Fort Bend County, Texas, as a stray.—Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 9 Nov. 2023 The report did not mention whether any arrests had been made, nor whether the cats were strays or pets.—Chris Lau, CNN, 24 Oct. 2023 Lots of cats: seven strays who had somehow adopted her (and vice versa).—Lisa Sanders, M.d., New York Times, 8 Sep. 2023 An abused stray mutt kept trying to move himself into a senior care facility.—John Carlisle, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2023 Animal shelters across the country have become overwhelmed with strays and surrendered pets since the pandemic.—Sydney Page, Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2023 Reminiscent of the events that led up to World War I, there is a growing risk that one actor’s attempt at deterring an enemy could be interpreted as an act of aggression, analysts said, or that one stray rocket causing mass casualties could set the region ablaze.—Dan De Luce, NBC News, 2 Nov. 2023 While there are flashes of poignancy in the estrangement between Byron and Benny, neither the workplace discrimination endured by Byron nor the domestic abuse suffered by Benny strays even an inch from textbook-standard beats.—Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Oct. 2023 Before reuniting with his owner, Panfilo was brought to the Santa Fe Animal Shelter as a stray.—Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 27 Oct. 2023
Unlike with the divisive film adaptations from the 2010s that strayed from the novels, Riordan has been closely involved in the making of the Disney+ series and serves as co-writer and executive producer.—Jaden Thompson, Variety, 16 Nov. 2023 Dichter is just one of several ministers in his Cabinet to stray from government messaging that the war isn't with Gaza, but with Hamas.—Chantal Da Silva, NBC News, 13 Nov. 2023 Eventually straying from those thoroughbred roots, the SL entered periods of weight gain which saw the addition of heavy folding hardtops and the availability of hulking V-12 engines that transformed it from a nimble convertible to a plush grand tourer.—Basem Wasef, Robb Report, 6 Oct. 2023 Although its science never strays from what's been reported in the real world and although Labatut honors the discipline of historical fiction, The MANIAC qualifies as science fiction, at least as practiced by Mary Shelley and her adaptors.—Amy Brady, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2023 There, legendary Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill keeps a watchful eye over the bar, and small talk often strays into politics.—Robert Costa, CBS News, 5 Nov. 2023 But just how much this juvenile justice system has strayed from Addams’ ideals, and the ways that the officials and court staff are complicit in that, is what kept me reporting on this story for years after the ProPublica articles were published.—Meribah Knight, ProPublica, 26 Oct. 2023 How Long To Toast Nuts Toasting nuts only takes a few minutes, so don't stray far from your oven or stove.—Patricia S York, Southern Living, 20 Oct. 2023 Instead of returning to spawn in their home rivers, the University of Alaska team thinks, at some point individual chum salmon strayed north.—WIRED, 18 Oct. 2023
Family and friends gathered Friday in New Jersey to remember 18-year-old Jillian Ludwig, a college freshman and talented musician who was fatally shot in the head by a stray bullet while walking on a track in Nashville, Tennessee.—Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 17 Nov. 2023 Its highly absorbent material efficiently catches all the stray water, sparing you the hassle of cleaning up after every shower.—Kathy Barr, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2023 The parents of the college student killed by a stray bullet last week spoke out on Good Morning America and paid tribute to their daughter.—Liam Quinn, Peoplemag, 13 Nov. 2023 In 2022, one incident that began with a stray spark destroyed more than 25 acres of reeds.—Tim Brinkhof, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 An 18-year-old Tennessee college student who was hit by a stray bullet while walking near Belmont University campus died overnight Wednesday, according to Metro Nashville Police.—CBS News, 9 Nov. 2023 And while its three movements are strewn with stray fragments of Sibelius, Debussy, Mahler, Schoenberg and Wagner, the alloy of Adams’s music gets its particular shine from his masterful negotiation of minimalist impulse and maximalist indulgence.—Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 At age 10, he was struck in the back of the head with a stray bullet that shattered his skull.—Liz Szabo, CBS News, 6 Nov. 2023 On the third day of fighting, a stray shell punched through Ms. Abdelgadir’s home, sending it up in flames.—Declan Walsh, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stray.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Anglo-French estraié, past participle of estraier
Middle English straien, from Anglo-French estraier, from Vulgar Latin *extravagare, from Latin extra- outside + vagari to wander — more at extra-