straggle

[strag-uh l]
See more synonyms for straggle on Thesaurus.com
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.

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 straggling

Historical Examples of straggling

  • The offence of straggling is generally considered not serious.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • A conjurer must have his time, like a straggling priest in the settlements.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It was tied with the greatest caution, and directed in a straggling hand.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • It was a large house; but low and straggling; and unpretending in its exterior.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • They were all signed in a strange, straggling hand, by the witness.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill


British Dictionary definitions for straggling

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
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 straggling

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper