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

After a stray bullet struck pregnant 24-year-old Kami Gilstrap on federal land near Buckeye last year, officials vowed to craft a plan to prevent a similar tragedy. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Solution for shooting on BLM land that killed pregnant woman: More shooting ranges," 6 June 2019 Nine people told police they were nearly struck by stray bullets. Olivia Prentzel, nola.com, "18-year-old accused of firing rifle at 9 people, breaking into more than 80 cars: NOPD," 5 June 2019 For decades, Rwandans have been leery of dogs, even viewing them as dangerous, partly because of their role as aggressive security animals and reputation as rabid, unpredictable strays. Yana Paskova, National Geographic, "Learning to Love Dogs in Kigali," 29 June 2018 Warm the wax in your fingertips, and very gently graze it over any strays, tucking them into place. Adam Hurly, GQ, "The Best Hair Products for Men 2018," 14 June 2018 Project Freedom Ride now partners with multiple rescue shelters in Texas which save strays, unwanted dogs and dogs from kill shelters. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "6-year-old boy helps save more than 1,000 dogs from kill shelters," 30 May 2018 All the while, they were kept company by a stray, nearly feral, dog, who wandered over and ate anything the workmen left behind from their lunch. Sheryl Julian, BostonGlobe.com, "From ruin to castle in rural Spain (and you can eat like royalty, too)," 23 May 2018 To make matters even more complicated, sometimes those in relationships worth preserving stray, too. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "How Each Zodiac Sign Is Most Likely to Cheat in a Relationship," 30 Apr. 2018 However, there is enough low-level spin in the atmosphere to create a slight chance at a stray, weak tornado or waterspout forming near the bay. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Heavy rain and gusty winds late tonight. Cool and cloudy with a few showers Monday.," 15 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That statue dedication and visit occurred just days before Mr. Trump addressed the 2017 National Scout Jamboree, a speech that caused some controversy as the president's remarks strayed into partisan politics several times. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Tillerson jokes at Boy Scouts meeting that God "sent him home" from State post to "save" his life," 5 June 2019 All of it is simultaneously witty and tender, with an attention to the verbal texts that never strays into mannerism. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Girls Chorus winds up its season with stylish new works," 23 Apr. 2018 Many have taken cues from Conor Lamb, who strayed from Democratic orthodoxy to win a special election in Western Pennsylvania earlier this year. Jonathan Tamari, Philly.com, "Center and left clash in key South Jersey House race," 24 May 2018 However, the Eagles never clicked under coach Tyson Summers, who strayed from their traditional triple-option attack, and he was fired midway through the 2017 season. Iliana Limón Romero, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Georgia Southern charts a new course, is No. 115 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 4 May 2018 Those who stray too far from Moscow’s line have a way of being blown up or shot under mysterious circumstances. Sophie Pinkham, The New Republic, "Why have post-Soviet countries embraced populism and nostalgia?," 3 May 2018 Thus, Ben recommends sticking to shampoos with natural ingredients and cleansers, and straying from those with detergents, like silicone and sulfates. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "This Is How Often You Should Really Be Washing Your Hair," 12 Apr. 2019 Muhammad chose both, and never strayed from his goal of helping others, by giving back through teaching and public service, and living and volunteering in Roxbury. Meghan E. Irons, BostonGlobe.com, "Roxbury, city mourn and celebrate the life of one of their own," 28 May 2018 Huvaere wouldn’t concede if Movement had strayed from its roots in recent years. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Amid surge of festivals, Movement asserts its role as techno ground zero," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Despite that, the CCSD one woman had been killed by a stray bullet in her Khartoum home on Tuesday. Kareem Khadder And Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Sudan death roll rises to 100 as bodies found in Nile, say doctors," 5 June 2019 The Sudan Doctors’ Committee says a woman was hit Tuesday by a stray bullet in her home. Washington Post, "The Latest: Protesters say 2 killed Tuesday in Sudan clashes," 5 June 2019 There’s also a stray hand placed on top of the papers, which is both ominous and confusing all at the same time. Megan Stein, Country Living, "NCIS: LA's Daniela Ruah Dropped a Huge Clue About the #Densi Wedding and It’s Not Good," 10 Feb. 2019 Footage shows a Target employee place a cone near the ball … but walks away to attend to a stray cart. Sarah Schreiber, Good Housekeeping, "Watch a Rogue 2-Ton Target Ball Unleash Utter Chaos in a Parking Lot," 6 Feb. 2017 At least 13 people were wounded by the stray bullets, Majroh said. Fox News, "29 killed in Afghanistan as anti-Taliban leader mourned," 9 Sep. 2018 Police in Mexico are investigating the murder of an American tourist hit by a stray bullet in Mexico City. CBS News, "American woman killed in Mexico after U.S. issues travel warnings," 11 July 2018 Though concealed by the sun, the moon is still flecked with a few stray particles of light filtered through Earth’s atmosphere. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse Will Shroud the Moon This Month," 2 July 2018 But just as those opportunities appeared to grow South Korea's confidence, it was shattered when a stray arm from Jang Hyun-soo resulted in Vela breaking the deadlock from the spot after 25 minutes. SI.com, "South Korea 1-2 Mexico: El Tri Put One Foot in Last 16 Despite Late Screamer From Son," 23 June 2018

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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Statistics for stray

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stray

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stray

Spanish Central: Translation of stray

Nglish: Translation of stray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stray for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stray

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