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[uh-strey] /əˈstreɪ/
adverb, adjective
out of the right way; off the correct or known road, path, or route:
Despite specific instructions, they went astray and got lost.
away from that which is right; into error, confusion, or undesirable action or thought:
They were led astray by their lust for money.
Origin of astray
1250-1300; Middle English astraye < Anglo-French *astraié, Old French estraié, past participle of estraier; see stray Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for astray
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He felt as though he wanted to submit, but the unconquered enemy that had so often led him astray was rebellious.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • She had neither the curiosity nor the inclination which might have led her astray.

    Rene Mauperin Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt
  • It is said it was from a son of her own she got the knowledge, a little chap that was astray.

  • But the glare of the candle led him astray, and he collided blindly with Jerry.

    The Camp in the Snow William Murray Graydon
  • The sight gives him relief, but only for an instant; his conjectures again leading him astray.

    The Lone Ranche Captain Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for astray


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
out of the correct path or direction
out of the right, good, or expected way; into error
Word Origin
C13: from Old French estraie roaming, from estraier to stray
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for astray

c.1300, astraied "away from home; lost," borrowed and partially nativized from Old French estraie, past participle of estraier "astray, riderless (of a horse), lost," literally "on stray" (see stray (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with astray
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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