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 Burly, garrulous Mike Dorety, a steady hand in so many emergencies, did not like to stray far from his wife. Los Angeles Times, "‘We called it Voyage of the Damned’: Days of despair on the Grand Princess," 23 Dec. 2020 Decades of space travel by governments left plenty of refuse, ranging from parts of rocket boosters to stray bits of scientific experiments. Clive Thompson, The New Republic, "Monetizing the Final Frontier," 3 Dec. 2020 Auburn was forced to stray far from its normal routine. Giana Han, al, "Auburn Tigers excited for the routine of game week," 16 Nov. 2020 Stepien said the topics stray away from the usual devotion of the final debate to foreign policy. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump says in campaign call that Fauci is a "disaster"," 19 Oct. 2020 Celebrity appearances have been a hallmark of the Black Tie Dinner over the years, and the digital format didn’t stray from the winning formula of high-wattage star power to encourage people to dig deep. Dallas News, "The nation’s largest LGBTQ fundraising dinner moves online, generates a lot of cash for D-FW nonprofits," 18 Dec. 2020 Federle said the second season doesn’t stray too far in essence from the first, which focused on the evolving relationships among its 11 recurring characters. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, "First look at ‘High School Musical’ series: What we know about Season 2," 10 Dec. 2020 Diana’s small victories were enjoyed by our mothers who were too pious to stray out of revenge or much too proud to even utter martial issues in the first instance. Alegría Adedeji, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Princess Diana Meant So Much to My Black British Mother," 24 Nov. 2020 However, no matter how far your drone can stray, bear in mind that Federal Aviation Administration rules requires you to always have an eye on your drone to avoid it from damaging property, animals, or even people. David Nield, Popular Science, "A beginner’s guide to buying your first drone," 6 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Even the Texans defense managed to catch a stray bullet in the midst of all the jokes. Shelby Stewart, Chron, "These places have better security than the Capitol, according to Twitter," 7 Jan. 2021 The year wasn’t even a week old when a stray bullet found an elderly woman outside her apartment in West Baltimore’s Franklin Square neighborhood. Phillip Jackson, baltimoresun.com, "Violent partners, random bullets led to more women, girls being killed in Baltimore this year than ever before," 31 Dec. 2020 In 2017, Regina Hernandez, a 5-year-old Huntsville girl, was killed by a stray bullet from celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Day in Limestone County. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "Montgomery police offer $500 rewards for tips about celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve," 31 Dec. 2020 Last year, a 61-year old nurse was killed after being struck by a stray bullet in a Houston-area suburb in Harris County, Texas. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police urge revelers not to fire off guns, fireworks to celebrate the holiday," 31 Dec. 2020 The girl's death from a stray bullet shocked the city and precipitated a bloody Christmas weekend that saw three more people killed in a 24-hour period. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Atlanta mayor goes from star to scapegoat as violence surges," 29 Dec. 2020 For many years, the building was claimed by squatters and stray dogs. Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, "The Art of Building the Impossible," 23 Nov. 2020 In 2002, Myon Burrell was jailed for life -- at age 16 -- for the killing of an 11-year-old girl by a stray bullet. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "He was sentenced to life in prison while a teenager. 18 years later, Myon Burrell walks free," 16 Dec. 2020 Tyesha Edwards was killed on November 22, 2002, after a stray bullet tore through the wall of her home in Minneapolis. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Minnesota commutes life sentence of man convicted of killing 11-year-old with stray bullet in 2002," 16 Dec. 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 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stray

stray

noun
How to pronounce stray (audio)

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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Comments on stray

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