American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A stray.
- v. To stray.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To stray.
- n. A tame beast, or valuable animal, as a horse, ox, or sheep, which is found wandering or without an owner; a beast supposed to have strayed from the power or the inclosure of its owner. In law it implies that the owner is unknown, wherefore the common law gave the ownership to the sovereign. In other than legal usage the more common form is stray.
- n. Figuratively, anything which has strayed away from its owner.
- n. law An animal that has escaped from its owner; a wandering animal whose owner is unknown. An animal cannot be an estray when on the range where it was raised, and permitted by its owner to run. A lost animal whose owner is known to the party at hand is not an estray.
- n. archaic Stray.
- v. archaic To stray.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. obsolete To stray.
- n. (Law) Any valuable animal, not wild, found wandering from its owner; a stray.
- Middle English astrai, from Anglo-Norman estray, from the Old French verb estraier. Etymological doublet with stray. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English astrai, from Anglo-Norman estray, from estraier, to stray, from Old French; see stray. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“They soon stocked it from the "estray" animals in the street.”
“Such "estray" or "feral" horses are not covered by the 1971 law that protects established herds of free-roaming mustangs.”
“No queerer estray ever drifted along the stream of life.”
“Tamím spake as follows: I went out one day in search of an estray and, coming to the waters of the Banu Tayy, saw two companies of people near one another, and behold, those of one company were disputing among themselves even as the other.”
“He took the handkerchief from his bosom with an air; and kissing it, presented it to her, saying, “This happy estray, thus restored, begs leave, by me, to acknowledge its lovely owner!””
“All the day Had been a dreary one at best, and dim Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.”
“Such a practice, by both the rancher finding the estray and the brand inspector, was regarded as a courtesy of the range, observed by all and rarely abused.”
“She desired to convert some one, to recover some estray, to reform some wretch.”
“Rainton, Dishforth, and Hewick have right of estray for their sheep to certain limited boundaries on the common, and each township has a shepherd.”
“The lord holds his court the first day in the year, and, to entitle those several townships to such right of estray, the shepherd of each township attends the court, and does fealty by bringing to the court a large apple-pie and a twopenny sweet cake, except the shepherd of Hewick, who compounds by paying sixteenpence for ale”
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These words are from Samuel Richardson's novel Clarissa, Or, The History of a Young Lady, 1747-48
Words rounded up while reading The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
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