Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[strag-uh l] /ˈstræg əl/
verb (used without object), straggled, straggling.
to stray from the road, course, or line of march.
to wander about in a scattered fashion; ramble.
to spread or be spread in a scattered fashion or at irregular intervals:
The trees straggle over the countryside.
Origin of straggle
1350-1400; Middle English straglen < ?
Related forms
straggler, noun
stragglingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for straggler
Historical Examples
  • The Mexicans hung upon their flanks and rear, cutting off every straggler.

    By-Ways of War James Jeffrey Roche
  • Some thought a straggler had used it as a lodging, and set it on fire in lighting his pipe.

    Freaks of Fortune Oliver Optic
  • She glanced around to make sure that no straggler was near who could by any chance have heard Joan's cries.

    Two Little Travellers Frances Browne Arthur
  • The last swift I observed was about the 21st August; it was a straggler.

  • A little goatherd, leading his bleating flock, plays on a reed flute to summon a straggler from a distant crag.

  • He whistled and sounded his horn in vain; the straggler paid no attention to the summons.

  • The worst sort of straggler is often astonished at the kindly interest accorded him upon returning to his old home.

    Shawn of Skarrow James Tandy Ellis
  • It is a straggler to Oceania and has not been recorded in the Hawaiian Islands.

  • At first it would be broken occasionally by the hurried trot of cavalry or the shuffling footsteps of a straggler.

    Out To Win Coningsby Dawson
  • My own servant, who had lost me in the crowd, was arrested as a straggler.

    A Company of Tanks W. H. L. Watson
British Dictionary definitions for straggler


verb (intransitive)
to go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way; stray
to linger behind or wander from a main line or part
Derived Forms
straggler, noun
straggling, adjective
stragglingly, adverb
straggly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to strake and stretch
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for straggler



c.1400, "to wander from the proper path, to rove from one's companions," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Norwegian stragla "to walk laboriously"), or a frequentative of straken "to move, go." Specifically of soldiers from 1520s. Related: Straggled; straggling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for straggle

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for straggler

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for straggler