- to deviate from the direct course, leave the proper place, or go beyond the proper limits, especially without a fixed course or purpose; ramble: to stray from the main road.
- to wander; roam: The new puppy strayed from room to room.
- to go astray; deviate, as from a moral, religious, or philosophical course: to stray from the teachings of the church.
- to digress or become distracted.
- a domestic animal found wandering at large or without an owner.
- any homeless or friendless person or animal.
- a person or animal that strays: the strays of a flock.
- strays, Radio. static.
- straying or having strayed, as a domestic animal.
- found or occurring apart from others or as an isolated or casual instance; incidental or occasional.
- Radio. undesired: stray capacitance.
Origin of stray
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for straying
Dr. Kent Sepkowitz applauds the CDC investigators for straying off-message.CDC Researchers Find Lower Mortality Rates Among Overweight People
January 3, 2013
And for those Jews who might think of straying next year, Democrats have two words for them: “Rick Perry.”Don't Sweat the Jewish Vote
September 16, 2011
Gingrich is a smart fellow steeped in the issues, but also has a knack for straying off message.The Right Turns on Newt
April 8, 2011
Signs around the country suggest that any Republican straying too far to the center is courting trouble.Who's Gunning for Lindsey Graham?
Samuel P. Jacobs
July 21, 2010
Marriage empowers a straying adult to behave like a randy teenager and a petulant toddler at the same time.Hands Off My Call Girl!
February 25, 2010
There must be no chance of straying, since they were sold, and liable for transport at any moment.The Night Riders
But where are we straying to,—what part of the town have we got into?Roland Cashel
Charles James Lever
People were straying by, seeming to drift under the dark trees.Erik Dorn
Its straying about and cant find its way back to its place in the sky.The Adventures of Maya the Bee
He detected the first signs of straying, and beckoned us back to the flock.Appearances
Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
- to wander away, as from the correct path or from a given area
- to wander haphazardly
- to digress from the point, lose concentration, etc
- to deviate from certain moral standards
- a domestic animal, fowl, etc, that has wandered away from its place of keeping and is lost
- (as modifier)stray dogs
- a lost or homeless person, esp a childwaifs and strays
- an isolated or random occurrence, specimen, etc, that is out of place or outside the usual pattern
- scattered, random, or haphazarda stray bullet grazed his thigh
Word Origin and History for straying
c.1300, a shortening of Old French estraier "wander about," literally "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from Late Latin via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the Old French word is from Vulgar Latin *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing Latin extra vagari "to wander outside" (see extravagant). Figurative sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c.
"domestic animal found wandering," early 13c., from Old French estraié "strayed," past participle of estraier (see stray (v.)). The adjective is first recorded c.1600.