- 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.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- 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: Middle 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
- strayer noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
intransitive verb strayed, stray·ing, strays
- a. To move away from a group, deviate from the correct course, or go beyond established limits.b. To become lost.
- To wander about without a destination or purpose; roam. See Synonyms at wander.
- To follow a winding course; meander.
- To deviate from a moral, proper, or right course; err.
- To become diverted from a subject or train of thought; digress. See Synonyms at swerve.
- Straying or having strayed; wandering or lost: stray cats and dogs.
- Scattered or separate: a few stray crumbs.
Origin: Middle English straien, from Old French estraier, from estree, highway, from Latin strāta; see street.
- strayˈer noun