- to stray from the path or course, or wander from the main group
- to wander or be scattered over a wide area; ramble
- to leave, arrive, or occur at irregular intervals
- to hang in a disheveled manner, as hair, clothes, etc.
Origin of straggleMiddle English straglen, probably for an unverified form straklen, frequentative of straken, to go about, wander, roam
intransitive verbstrag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
- a. To move or proceed slowly or in a scattered or irregular group: “The millworkers straggled out for lunch” (Carson McCullers).b. To move or lag behind another or others: “Bawling calves straggled after cows” (Jean M. Auel).
- To extend or be spread out: “The willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble” (George Orwell).
- To hang limply or loosely: “the potbellied man, whose dirty hair straggled to his shoulders” (Stephen King).
Origin of straggleMiddle English straglen, to wander.
(third-person singular simple present straggles, present participle straggling, simple past and past participle straggled)
- To stray from the road, course or line of march.
- He straggled away from the crowd and went off on his own.
- To wander about; ramble.
- To spread at irregular intervals.
- To escape or stretch beyond proper limits, as the branches of a plant; to spread widely apart; to shoot too far or widely in growth.
- To be dispersed or separated; to occur at intervals.
- The act of straggling.
From Middle English straglen, of uncertain origin.