[strag-uh l]

verb (used without object), strag·gled, strag·gling.

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 formsstrag·gler, nounstrag·gling·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for straggle

Historical Examples of straggle

  • 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


verb (intr)

to go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way; stray
to linger behind or wander from a main line or part
Derived Formsstraggler, nounstraggling, adjectivestragglingly, adverbstraggly, adjective

Word Origin for straggle

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

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