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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

Related Words

dawdleramblemeanderlagpokeroamdrifttailstraddletrailrangespreadroveloitermaunderscramble

Examples from the Web for straggle

Historical Examples

  • Complaining not, they straggle down to their bunks to change their clothes.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Any man that says I straggle is a liar—exceptin' the colonel, and he's mistaken.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Do you suppose I'd go off with them, and let you straggle up home by yourself?

    A Jolly Fellowship

    Frank R. Stockton

  • Nothing was allowed to straggle, or to take up more than its share of room.

    "Some Say"

    Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards

  • Do they straggle along so loosely as to escape particular notice?

    The Foot-path Way

    Bradford Torrey


British Dictionary definitions for straggle

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 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