: a domestic animal that is wandering at large or is lost
: a person or thing that strays
[Middle English, from straien to stray] archaic : the act of going astray
strayed; straying; strays
: to wander from company, restraint, or proper limits
: to roam about without fixed direction or purpose
: to move in a winding course : meander
: to move without conscious or intentional effort
eyes straying absently around the room
: to become distracted from an argument or train of thought
strayed from the point
: to wander accidentally from a fixed or chosen route
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
Recent Examples on the Web
NounSo, officials said, relief from the constant influx of strays is sorely needed. —Sasha Hupka, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2023 For a while, especially in the 2010s, looking cool was synonymous with curation: An aesthetic muted instagram grid, the kind of hair that never has a stray out of place, outfits that followed the conventional style rules...full looks and lots of matching. —Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Jan. 2023 When a stray tried to share the dais with winger Vinicius Jr. during a news conference, a media-relations officer grabbed it roughly with two hands and flung it to the floor. —Staff Writer Follow, Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2022 The Santa Clara Valley should remain mostly dry thanks to the rain shadow from the Santa Cruz Mountains, but a few stray sprinkles could wet the ground during the morning. —Anthony Edwards, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2023 There are numerous animal shelters and rescue groups in New York City, and the ASPCA isn't the go-to place for stray and lost dogs and cats. —Jennifer Peltz, ajc, 7 May 2023 Wisconsin is home to seven types: black, Canadian tiger, Eastern tiger, giant; and strays from the South that are uncommon but appear in Wisconsin: pipevine, spicebush and zebra. —Jennifer Rude Klett, Journal Sentinel, 20 Apr. 2023 Also rough was the brutality in which Logan tore Roman apart after, with Gerri even catching some indirect strays. —Jack Francis, Rolling Stone, 11 Apr. 2023 Caution children not to go near any stray or wild animal, regardless of its behavior. —Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 7 Apr. 2023
VerbTheatergoers rushed out with the electric air of having strayed from real-world anxieties for a couple of hours, their emotional centers shifted however temporarily and their imaginations awake. —Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2023 Chilean filmmakers are also exploring new genres, straying from traditional dramas. —Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 16 May 2023 My heart never strayed far from its steps, and my commitment to someday return and finish was ever-present. —Stephanie Kaloi, Peoplemag, 16 May 2023 This one is no exception, straying from the first two installments’ nostalgic ‘70s-era soundtracks to encompass several decades worth of terrific cuts and featuring artists including Alice Cooper, Spacehog, The Flaming Lips, The The and The Replacements. —Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Apr. 2023 Magma orange and nappa leather The interior probably strays farther from the upcoming production model than the GV80’s exterior styling. —Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 4 Apr. 2023 Ride quality is not great, though, particularly if one strays from Comfort mode. —Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, 28 Mar. 2023 To make her mark, according to West’s script (based on Gayle F. Wald’s biography), Tharpe had to liberate herself from an abusive preacher husband (Sinclair Mitchell) and a God-fearing mother who shamed her for straying from the church. —Peter Marks, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2023 For 90 minutes, the camera rarely strays from Dafoe, as his character, over the course of months, endures near-starvation, total isolation and the absence (no small thing) of a functioning toilet. —Susan Dominus Collier Schorr Jay Massacret, New York Times, 2 Mar. 2023
AdjectiveLong story short: A stray dog followed us for a full day. —Juliet Pennington, BostonGlobe.com, 25 May 2023 Authorities in Utah are investigating how a 2-year-old child at a day care was struck in the head by an apparent stray bullet Monday. —Antonio Planas, NBC News, 24 May 2023 For one, the flat edges of facets become sources of stray light. —IEEE Spectrum, 21 May 2023 The Humane Society explains on its website that a stray animal undergoes a holding period that varies between state and local laws after it is found and taken into a shelter. —Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 10 May 2023 The player was hit by what police believe was a stray bullet midway through the game at George Dobson Field at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, a city of about 36,000 along the Texas-Arkansas border. —Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 1 May 2023 When the 200 activists and farm workers got there, the ranch was vacant, overgrown with weeds, and the farm headquarters empty, except for a stray cow. —Jack Nicas Maria Magdalena Arréllaga, New York Times, 30 Apr. 2023 There’s a very low chance for a stray shower hanging on early this morning. —Kxas-tv (nbc5), Dallas News, 21 Apr. 2023 Some residents have experienced hunters shooting near their homes, and in January, Jackson Wak Wak, a hunter from the Nez Perce Tribe, was hit by shrapnel from a stray bullet while exercising his treaty hunting rights. —Alex Chun, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 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.
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