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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 for straggler

poke, lag, slowpoke, loafer, idler, loiterer, procrastinator, lagger, dawdler, lounger, tarrier

Examples from the Web for straggler

Historical Examples of straggler

  • May your straggler justify your odd fancy this time, brother!

    The Shadow of a Crime

    Hall Caine

  • Only the straggler or deserter has as few marks as you to show.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • The last swift I observed was about the 21st August; it was a straggler.

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

  • Some thought a straggler had used it as a lodging, and set it on fire in lighting his pipe.

    Freaks of Fortune

    Oliver Optic


British Dictionary definitions for straggler

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 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 straggler

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