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straggle

[strag-uh l]
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verb (used without object), strag·gled, strag·gling.
  1. to stray from the road, course, or line of march.
  2. to wander about in a scattered fashion; ramble.
  3. to spread or be spread in a scattered fashion or at irregular intervals: The trees straggle over the countryside.
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Origin of straggle

1350–1400; Middle English straglen < ?
Related formsstrag·gler, nounstrag·gling·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stragglers

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • No horse that the stragglers have stolen can overtake Gypsy.

  • First came four horses, well bunched; after them the stragglers.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

  • Mrs. Tidditt brought up the rear, marshaling the stragglers, as it were.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • Kendrick noted, with sudden uneasiness, that there were stragglers.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The two or three stragglers who met the minister carried lanterns.

    Keziah Coffin

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for stragglers

straggle

verb (intr)
  1. to go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way; stray
  2. to linger behind or wander from a main line or part
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Derived Formsstraggler, nounstraggling, adjectivestragglingly, adverbstraggly, 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

Word Origin and History for stragglers

straggle

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper