- The definition of stray is someone or something that has been separated from where it should be or that is loose and all-by-itself.
- A dog that has no home is an example of a dog that would be described as a stray dog.
- A button that you just find on the floor and that doesn't appear to belong anywhere is an example of a stray button.
- To stray is to deviate off course or to wander away from where you should be.
When you wander off course, this is an example of a time when you stray.
A poor stray dog.
- to wander from a given place, limited area, direct course, etc., esp. aimlessly; roam; rove
- to go wrong; be in error; deviate (from what is right)
- to fail to concentrate; be inattentive or digress
Origin of strayMiddle English straien ; from Old French estraier ; from estrée, road, street ; from Late Latin strata, street
- a person or thing that strays; esp., a domestic animal wandering at large
- static interfering with radio reception
- having strayed or wandered; lost
- occurring alone or infrequently; isolated; incidental: a few stray words
intransitive verbstrayed, stray·ing, strays
- a. To move away from a group, deviate from a course, or escape from established limits: strayed away from the tour group to look at some sculptures.b. To move without a destination or purpose; wander: cows that strayed across the road toward the river. See Synonyms at wander.
- To be directed without apparent purpose; look in an idle or casual manner: The driver's eyes strayed from the road toward the fields.
- To follow a winding or erratic course: “White mists began to rise &ellipsis; on the surface of the river and stray about the roots of the trees upon its borders” (J.R.R. Tolkien).
- To act contrary to moral or proper behavior, especially in being sexually unfaithful: “He strayed from his marriage and fathered a son with a village woman” (Adam Hochschild).
- To become diverted, as from a subject or train of thought: strayed from our original purpose. See Synonyms at swerve.
- Straying or having strayed; wandering or lost: stray cats and dogs.
- Scattered or separate: a few stray crumbs.
Origin of strayMiddle English straien, from Old French estraier, from estree, highway, from Latin strāta; see street.
- Any domestic animal that has an enclosure, or its proper place and company, and wanders at large, or is lost; an estray.
- (figuratively) One who is lost, either literally or metaphorically.
- The act of wandering or going astray.
- (historical) An area of common land or place administered for the use of general domestic animals, i.e. "the stray"
(third-person singular simple present strays, present participle straying, simple past and past participle strayed)