stray

noun
\ ˈstrā How to pronounce stray (audio) \

Definition of stray

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a domestic animal that is wandering at large or is lost
b : a person or thing that strays
2 [Middle English, from straien to stray] archaic : the act of going astray

stray

verb
strayed; straying; strays

Definition of stray (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: wander: such as
a : to wander from company, restraint, or proper limits
b : to roam about without fixed direction or purpose
c : to move in a winding course : meander
d : to move without conscious or intentional effort eyes straying absently around the room
e : to become distracted from an argument or train of thought strayed from the point
f : to wander accidentally from a fixed or chosen route
g : err, sin

stray

adjective

Definition of stray (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : having strayed or escaped from a proper or intended place a stray dog
2 : occurring at random or sporadically stray thoughts
3 : not serving any useful purpose : unwanted stray light

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Other Words from stray

Verb

strayer noun

Examples of stray in a Sentence

Noun 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 Adjective stray sightings of UFO's, none of which have been rigorously analyzed by scientists
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Otis, the grey-and-white cat who often visits Loganberry Books with shop owner Harriett Logan, has become an important presence at the Larchmere shop for the past 13 years, ever since Logan adopted the former stray. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "The shop cats of Cleveland: 15 local businesses with feline friends," 1 Mar. 2021 Jasmine was originally rescued by AHS all the way back in 2012 when she was brought to the shelter as a stray. The Arizona Republic, "Austin and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 2 Apr. 2021 The spa, which is surrounded by other spas, 24-hour businesses, adult entertainment venues and nightclubs, usually leaves its front and back doors open during the day, for visitors, foot traffic and the occasional stray cat to drop by. NBC News, "He shot at 'everyone he saw': Atlanta spa workers recount horrors of shooting," 2 Apr. 2021 Mama is a stray that moved into Lakewood Hardware more than 10 years ago, when the shop first opened up. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "The shop cats of Cleveland: 15 local businesses with feline friends," 1 Mar. 2021 Adding to the humiliation for Wagner and Hifter, highlight reels started appearing online showing Pantsir after Pantisr stray into a Turkish drone’s sights, then disappear in a plume of smoke. Washington Post, "At the mercy of foreign powers," 25 Feb. 2021 Currently, a stray named Garfield stops by the shop for a meal now and then, and another cat comes by more regularly. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "The shop cats of Cleveland: 15 local businesses with feline friends," 1 Mar. 2021 Last year, new figures from Fidelity Investments show, Americans had the largest nest eggs on record, thanks to the bull market, automatic annual contribution increases and a willingness of the public to invest stray, and unused, income. Larry Light, Forbes, "Why Consumer Spending Will Romp, Post-Covid," 27 Feb. 2021 Chewy says the best practice is to completely wash strawberries and remove stray stems, leaves, and dirt before giving them to your dog. Nicole Letts, Southern Living, "Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?," 27 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Each team has an entire floor to itself and nobody can stray to other floors in the hotel. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: Props to the college hoopsters for their perseverance," 25 Mar. 2021 If my cultural allusions stray too far beyond Minecraft or Harry Potter, their eyes roll all the way back in their heads. Wired Staff, Wired, "Soothe Yourself With a Picture Book About the Internet Dying," 18 Mar. 2021 Like with Oregon State's centers, Mulkey is a rim protector who doesn't stray from the key. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, "ASU women face big WNIT challenge in Rice 6-9 center Nancy Mulkey," 17 Mar. 2021 In general, McLeod tends to stray away from high-shine finishes like chrome and polished brass, which can be difficult to mix effectively with other metals. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "5 Fool-Proof Tips for Mixing Metals in Your Home," 2 Mar. 2021 Doing so would stray away from the Army’s original plan for the six-event test to be entirely gender neutral, Military.com reported. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Army's first female infantry officer says lowering fitness standards for women would put 'mission at risk'," 27 Feb. 2021 Still, from Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles to Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens, Williams has watched many young talents come and go and, on occasion, stray far from tennis. New York Times, "Serena Williams Turns Back Time at Australian Open," 14 Feb. 2021 Throughout the impeachment trial, Murkowski was often cited nationally as a Republican senator who could potentially stray from her party in the final vote. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s Republican senators split over whether to convict Trump in impeachment vote," 14 Feb. 2021 What happened to stray animals in Amarillo during the cold snap? Bayliss Wagner, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Old photos of dogs in snow accompany false claim that pets froze in Amarillo, Texas," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective September Chatfield said the shooting of Randell brought back memories of when her 7-year-old son got struck by a stray bullet in a shooting at the 2008 West Indian Day Parade in Hartford. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, "Hartford vigil mourns 3-year-old who died in drive-by shooting," 12 Apr. 2021 Another stray bullet hit a woman in a separate vehicle, Fort Worth police spokesperson Officer Tracy Carter said. Nicole Acevedo, NBC News, "One dead, five hurt in Texas freeway shooting," 10 Apr. 2021 The report says more detailed research into what was being sold at the market needs to be performed, as well as research on any stray dogs and cats that may have made their homes near the market. Washington Post, "Five details from the WHO-led report on coronavirus origins," 29 Mar. 2021 The folks who look after San Francisco’s stray dogs and cats are terribly excited about the porcelain contraption on the roof of the city’s brand new, $77 million animal shelter. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Take a tour through S.F.'s new, $77 million animal shelter, complete with a dog toilet," 26 Mar. 2021 But at night, a different war is being fought — against criminals, and packs of stray dogs stalking the streets. New York Times, "In Kabul’s Streets, Dogs Rule the Night," 21 Mar. 2021 But Sara is a stray herself — someone who, for many formative years, was hungry and terrified and desperate — and for her, those acts of selflessness are reparative, a means of resetting old fractures and evening karmic scores. Abbott Kahler, Vulture, "How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life," 24 Mar. 2021 Guiding this tremendous project is an office staff of 400, which takes care of everything from stray nails to paychecks. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Linda Vista started with a housing boom in 1941," 23 Mar. 2021 Pair it with adhesive mini-cable clips ($9.99 for nine clips, containerstore.com) to corral stray cords. Washington Post, "Shopping with the pros: Solutions for an organized home office," 17 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stray.' 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 stray

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stray

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French estraié, past participle of estraier

Verb

Middle English straien, from Anglo-French estraier, from Vulgar Latin *extravagare, from Latin extra- outside + vagari to wander — more at extra-

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Time Traveler for stray

Time Traveler

The first known use of stray was in the 13th century

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Statistics for stray

Last Updated

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stray. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for stray

stray

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stray

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: an animal (such as a cat or dog) that is lost or has no home
: a person or thing that is separated from a group

stray

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stray (Entry 2 of 3)

: to go in a direction that is away from a group or from the place where you should be

stray

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stray (Entry 3 of 3)

of an animal : lost or having no home
: separated from another or others of the same kind
: not in or going in the proper or intended place

stray

noun
\ ˈstrā How to pronounce stray (audio) \

Kids Definition of stray

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a domestic animal (as a cat or dog) that is lost or has no home

stray

verb
strayed; straying

Kids Definition of stray (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to wander from a group or from the proper place : roam The gate was left open and the cow strayed.
2 : to go off from a direct or chosen route or the right course We strayed from the path.
3 : to become distracted from a topic or train of thought

stray

adjective

Kids Definition of stray (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : lost or having no home a stray dog
2 : not in the proper or intended place I found a few stray socks.
3 : occurring here and there : random a few stray hairs

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More from Merriam-Webster on stray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stray

Nglish: Translation of stray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stray for Arabic Speakers

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