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 But that would be missing the forest by focusing on a few stray trees. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Antibodies and SARS-CoV-2 infections: The more the better," 29 Dec. 2020 The cat was in good health, but as a stray, was transferred to the NHSPCA shelter in Stratham. Lara Bricker, USA TODAY, "'Christmas miracle' cat found after 7 years reunited with NH owners, renamed Saint Nick," 28 Dec. 2020 She was found as a pregnant stray by a caring member of the community that welcomed her into their home and found homes for the kittens. The Arizona Republic, "Punkie and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 5 Dec. 2020 As a few stray leaves rattled across the pavement, Robert Fuller hunched his shoulders and leaned into the bracing wind. jsonline.com, "Frozen Footsteps: A story for Christmas," 18 Dec. 2020 And not long after, the rescue partnered with LA/SPCA, PetSmart, Big Sky Ranch in Folsom and the Metairie Cat Hospital to spay and neuter stray and feral cats and work to find some of the more sociable ones new homes. Sarah Ravits, NOLA.com, "Star-crossed cats: A shy, cross-eyed kitten finds a forever home — and a soulmate," 14 Dec. 2020 Unlike most police dogs, who come from overseas and cost upwards of $10,000, Maggie was a stray. Chip Reid, CBS News, "From stray to K-9: Shelter dog becomes newest member of Owego Police Department," 16 Nov. 2020 Rarely does the First Lady or the potential next First Lady stray from the tonal uniform, making Dr. Biden’s vibrant floral print look especially welcome on the debate stage. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Jill Biden’s Matching Floral Dress & Face Mask Was A Bright Spot During The Debate," 23 Oct. 2020 Instead, Frisco has a contract with Collin County Animal Services to handle the city’s stray and missing pets through 2023, requiring pet owners to drive about 20 minutes east to McKinney to pick up missing animals that have been found. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, "Where do Frisco city council candidates stand on a stand-alone city animal shelter? We asked," 15 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 The focus didn’t stray into anything contentious, such as the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package opposed by most Republicans, which allowed the meeting to play out as a potential template. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Biden, at ‘best meeting’ yet as president, talks semiconductors and security with Texans Cornyn and McCaul," 24 Feb. 2021 The appointment of Hashimoto did not stray far from the entrenched establishment that governs Japan. Motoko Rich, BostonGlobe.com, "After leader’s sexist remark, Tokyo Olympics appoints a woman to take charge," 18 Feb. 2021 Both chambers then agreed on a final version, which lawmakers said does not stray far from Kemp's recommendations. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Georgia Legislature approves $650M spending increase in amended state budget," 12 Feb. 2021 The character’s fate wasn’t a surprise to those familiar with Philip Pullman’s fantasy novels, as the HBO series, which concludes its second season Monday, did not stray too far from the source material for this part of Boreal’s story. Los Angeles Times, "Fantasy, long one of TV’s whitest genres, may finally be ready to change," 28 Dec. 2020 But the conversations don't stray into Vikings-Saints history very often. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "For Vikings and Saints, the stakes and the decibel level will lower at the Superdome," 23 Dec. 2020 On Christmas Day itself, however, the royals will stray from tradition. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Prince William and Kate Middleton's Family Christmas Card Is Here," 16 Dec. 2020 Also, the price of biofuels products can’t stray too far from the price of regular diesel or customers will revolt, according to Keever and other experts. Bryan Mena, SFChronicle.com, "California restaurants are hurting. That means less leftover cooking oil to make biofuels," 13 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective According to police, Tarver was hit by a stray bullet that was fired during into his apartment. Tandra Smith | Tsmith@al.com, al, "Tuskegee police arrest second suspect in the death of of a 4-year-old," 27 Feb. 2021 Likewise, stray Mexican hairless dogs get mistaken for chupacabras. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "The chupacabra lives on in San Antonio's Latino lore, like our Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster," 24 Feb. 2021 Other than the slight chance of a stray shower in the late afternoon, the day should be mostly dry with a high of nearly 51 degrees. oregonlive, "Portland metro Tuesday weather: Mostly cloudy, dry; rain returns tonight," 5 Jan. 2021 Cloudy skies are likely Monday as a Great Lakes storm stays north of the area with just the slimmest chance of a stray shower. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Warm and wet today, stormy and windy tonight and bitter cold on Christmas Day," 24 Dec. 2020 There are many formerly stray cats who refuse to use litterboxes. Cathy M. Rosenthal, ExpressNews.com, "Cat uses toilet, tub, sink to relieve herself — all without training," 28 Jan. 2021 With so many stray cats roaming the streets, his cause often feels overwhelming, admitted Davis. Cathy Free, Washington Post, "The rapper turned cat man who is busting stereotypes with his love for felines," 7 Dec. 2020 My neighbors are all really friendly, and there are so many stray cats on my block! Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Through art, San Diego artist conveys feelings about 2020," 5 Dec. 2020 And rehearsals have been interrupted by stray cats. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Sunset, ants and stray cats: In Central Florida, all the world is now a stage," 30 Sep. 2020

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

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stray. Accessed 7 Mar. 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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