Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To move away from a group, deviate from a course, or escape from established limits.
  • intransitive verb To move without a destination or purpose; wander: synonym: wander.
  • intransitive verb To be directed without apparent purpose; look in an idle or casual manner.
  • intransitive verb To follow a winding or erratic course.
  • intransitive verb To act contrary to moral or proper behavior, especially in being sexually unfaithful.
  • intransitive verb To become diverted, as from a subject or train of thought: synonym: swerve.
  • noun One that has strayed, especially a domestic animal wandering about.
  • adjective Straying or having strayed; wandering or lost.
  • adjective Scattered or separate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Property left behind by an alien at his death, and escheated to the king in default of heirs.
  • noun In wireless telegraphy, a disturbance due to fluctuating differences of potential between the top of the antennæ of a receiving station and the earth which sometimes affects the recording instrument and interferes with signaling. Also called an X.
  • Having gone astray; strayed; wandering; straggling; incidental.
  • noun Any domestic animal that has left an inclosure or its proper place and company, and wanders at large or is lost; an estray.
  • noun Hence A person or persons astray; a straggler; a truant.
  • noun The act of wandering.
  • noun A pasturage for cattle.
  • To wander, as from a direct course; deviate or go out of the way or from the proper limits; go astray.
  • To wander from the path of truth, duty, or rectitude; turn from the accustomed or prescribed course; deviate.
  • To move about without or as without settled purpose or direction.
  • Synonyms To straggle.
  • 1 and
  • Wander, Rove, etc. See ramble, v.
  • To cause to stray; mislead; seduce.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun rare The act of wandering or going astray.
  • adjective Having gone astray; strayed; wandering.
  • adjective (Naut.) that portion of the log line which is veered from the reel to allow the chip to get clear of the stern eddies before the glass is turned.
  • adjective (Naut.) the mark indicating the end of the stray line.
  • intransitive verb To wander, as from a direct course; to deviate, or go out of the way.
  • intransitive verb To wander from company, or from the proper limits; to rove at large; to roam; to go astray.
  • intransitive verb Figuratively, to wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err.
  • transitive verb obsolete To cause to stray.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.
  • noun The act of wandering or going astray.
  • noun historical An area of common land or place administered for the use of general domestic animals, i.e. "The Stray"
  • verb To wander, as from a direct course; to deviate, or go out of the way.
  • verb To wander from company, or from the proper limits; to rove at large; to roam; to go astray.
  • verb Figuratively, to wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err.
  • adjective Having gone astray; strayed; wandering; as, a stray horse or sheep.
  • adjective In the wrong place; misplaced.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb wander from a direct course or at random
  • verb move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
  • verb lose clarity or turn aside especially from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking
  • adjective not close together in time
  • noun an animal that has strayed (especially a domestic animal)
  • adjective (of an animal) having no home or having wandered away from home

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English straien, from Old French estraier, from estree, highway, from Latin strāta; see street.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman estrayer (also Old French), and astrey, from Old French estraié, from Vulgar Latin via strata, paved road.

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