What does stray mean?

Definitions for stray

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word stray.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. strayadjective

    an animal that has strayed (especially a domestic animal)

  2. isolated, strayadjective

    not close together in time

    "isolated instances of rebellion"; "a few stray crumbs"

  3. strayverb

    (of an animal) having no home or having wandered away from home

    "a stray calf"; "a stray dog"

  4. roll, wander, swan, stray, tramp, roam, cast, ramble, rove, range, drift, vagabondverb

    move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment

    "The gypsies roamed the woods"; "roving vagabonds"; "the wandering Jew"; "The cattle roam across the prairie"; "the laborers drift from one town to the next"; "They rolled from town to town"

  5. stray, err, driftverb

    wander from a direct course or at random

    "The child strayed from the path and her parents lost sight of her"; "don't drift from the set course"

  6. digress, stray, divagate, wanderverb

    lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking

    "She always digresses when telling a story"; "her mind wanders"; "Don't digress when you give a lecture"


  1. straynoun

    Any domestic animal that has an inclosure, or its proper place and company, and wanders at large, or is lost; an estray. Used also figuratively.

  2. straynoun

    The act of wandering or going astray.

  3. straynoun

    An area of common land or place administered for the use of general domestic animals, i.e. "The Stray"

  4. strayverb

    To wander, as from a direct course; to deviate, or go out of the way.

  5. strayverb

    To wander from company, or from the proper limits; to rove at large; to roam; to go astray.

  6. strayverb

    Figuratively, to wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err.

  7. strayadjective

    Having gone astray; strayed; wandering; as, a stray horse or sheep.

  8. strayadjective

    In the wrong place; misplaced.

    a stray comma

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Straynoun

    Etymology: from the verb.

    She hath herself not only well defended,
    But taken and impounded as a stray
    The king of Scots. William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    Should I take you for a stray,
    You must be kept a year and day. Hudibras.

    When he has traced his talk through all its wild rambles, let him bring home his stray; not like the lost sheep with joy, but with tears of penitence. Government of the Tongue.

    Seeing him wander about, I took him up for a stray. Dryd.

    He cries out, neighbour, hast thou seen a stray
    Of bullocks and of heifers pass this way? Addison.

    I would not from your love make such a stray,
    To match you where I hate. William Shakespeare.

  2. To Strayverb

    Etymology: stroe, Danish, to scatter; stravviare, Italian, to wander.

    My eye, descending from the hill, surveys
    Where Thames among the wanton valley strays. John Denham.

    Lo, the glad gales o’er all her beauties stray,
    Breathe on her lips, and in her bosom play. Alexander Pope.

    What grace hath thee now hither brought this way?
    Or doen thy feeble feet unweeting hither stray. Fai. Queen.

    No: where can I stray,
    Save back to England? all the world’s my way. William Shakespeare.

    Hath not else his eye
    Stray’d his affection in unlawful love? William Shakespeare.

    She doth stray about
    By holy crosses, where she kneeling prays
    For happy wedlock hours. William Shakespeare.

    Wand’rest thou within this lucid orb,
    And stray’d from those fair fields of light above,
    Amidst this new creation want’st a guide
    To reconduct thy steps? Dryden.

    We have erred and strayed. Common Prayer.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Strayadjective

    to wander, as from a direct course; to deviate, or go out of the way

  2. Strayadjective

    to wander from company, or from the proper limits; to rove at large; to roam; to go astray

  3. Strayadjective

    figuratively, to wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err

  4. Strayverb

    to cause to stray

  5. Strayverb

    having gone astray; strayed; wandering; as, a strayhorse or sheep

  6. Straynoun

    any domestic animal that has an inclosure, or its proper place and company, and wanders at large, or is lost; an estray. Used also figuratively

  7. Straynoun

    the act of wandering or going astray

  8. Etymology: [Cf. OF. estrai, p. p. of estraier. See Stray, v. i., and cf. Astray, Estray.]


  1. Stray

    Stray are a British band, formed in 1966. The vocalist Steve Gadd, guitarist Del Bromham, bass player Gary Giles and drummer Steve Crutchley formed the band, whilst all were attending the Christopher Wren School in London. Richard "Ritchie" Cole replaced Crutchley in 1968. They signed to Transatlantic Records in January 1970. The group's brand of melodic, hook-laden hard rock proved to be a popular draw on the local club scene during the early 1970s. However the band did not have commercial success with its record releases. At one stage Charlie Kray, was their manager. Gadd left the band in 1975 due to artistic differences and was replaced on vocals by Pete Dyer. The original Stray finally dissolved in 1977, although Bromham later continued to play in various resurrected versions of the project well into the 2000s. There are two Iron Maiden connections to Stray. "All in Your Mind" from Stray's 1970 debut album was covered by Iron Maiden, and Maiden bassist Steve Harris's daughter Lauren has covered "Come On Over".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Stray

    strā, v.i. to wander: to go from the enclosure, company, or proper limits: to err: to rove: to deviate from duty or rectitude.—v.t. (Shak.) to cause to stray.—n. a domestic animal that has strayed or is lost: a straggler, a waif, a truant: the act of wandering.—adj. Strayed, wandering, astray.—ns. Stray′er, one who strays, a wanderer; Stray′ling, a little waif or stray. [O. Fr. estraier, to wander—estree, a street—L. strata, a street.]

Suggested Resources

  1. stray

    Song lyrics by stray -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by stray on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. STRAY

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Stray is ranked #70645 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Stray surname appeared 277 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Stray.

    90.2% or 250 total occurrences were White.
    6.1% or 17 total occurrences were Black.
    2.5% or 7 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for stray »

  1. satyr

  2. trays

  3. T-rays

  4. artsy

  5. trasy

  6. stary

How to pronounce stray?

How to say stray in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of stray in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of stray in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of stray in a Sentence

  1. Thomas Gray:

    Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

  2. Anne Martin:

    In the one to three months after Easter, we traditionally see a spike in shelter rabbit intakes, in Northern California alone, thousands of stray and unwanted rabbits end up in the municipal shelter systems, and the majority of these rabbits are under a year old.

  3. Al Sharpton:

    You know, two weeks after I did the eulogy at George Floyd’s funeral I did the eulogy for a 1-year-old kid in Brooklyn killed by a stray bullet in a gang fight, so it is not true that those of us that want police reform do not also at the same time want to deal with crime. And I think that the progressive candidates need to be more out on that.

  4. Dave Arnold:

    There’s still so much room in exploring new techniques in cocktails, classic cocktails made with standard mixers and the standard back bar are delicious. You don’t need to stray from that. But once you want to get into things you can’t make with classic techniques, that’s when you need to start pulling in newer techniques. This isn’t just for people interested in buying expensive equipment. It’s something that can work in any bar.

  5. Nguyen Dieu Hong:

    In a country where cats are still served as foods and stray cats being mistreated are popular, the event is a chance to raise awareness among people, cat is not a sign of bad luck as many Vietnamese think and should be filled with love.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for stray

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • blouditCzech
  • streunen, sich verlaufen, sich irren, Streuner, irren, streunend, verloren gehenGerman
  • αδέσποτο, αδέσποτοςGreek
  • descaminarse, perderse, callejear, descarriarse, vagar, callejero, extraviado, extraviarse, vagabundear, errar, divagarSpanish
  • منحرف شدنPersian
  • yhteislaidun, harhautua, eksyä, karata, karkulainen, poiketa, eksynyt, karkaaminen, karannut, harhailu, hairahtuaFinnish
  • [[animal]] [[errant]], errer, égaré, errant, commun, erranceFrench
  • fuadainScottish Gaelic
  • kóborHungarian
  • snodare, vagante, perdersi, zigzagare, randagio, snodarsi, estraniarsi, vagareItalian
  • ストレイJapanese
  • strayLatin
  • dwalenDutch
  • bezdomny, zbłąkanyPolish
  • desgarradoPortuguese
  • бродячий, плутать, бездомный, сбиваться с пути, блуждать, свернуть, сворачивать, сбиться с пути, шальной, заблудитьсяRussian
  • zatúlaný, túlavý, zblúdiť, túlať sa, potulovať saSlovak
  • arrakatAlbanian
  • தவறானTamil
  • yoldan sapmak, başıboş, başıboş dolaşmak, yanılmak, başıboş dolaşan, kaybolmakTurkish
  • 流浪Chinese

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"stray." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 6 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/stray>.

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    flee; take to one's heels; cut and run
    • A. elate
    • B. abase
    • C. render
    • D. scarper

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