To "stray" is to go in the wrong direction, make a mistake, or get lost:
- Rena strayed from her school group and got lost inside the museum.
- The man’s car strayed into another lane and almost caused an accident.
- A rocket fired from the launchpad strayed off course and never reached its destination.
- If you stray too far off the path in these woods, you might not find your way back home.
- Cows will stray into a neighboring pasture if there isn’t a fence to keep them contained.
You can also use the word "stray" to describe a person or a thing that is lost:
- A stray cat wandered into our backyard looking for food. (stray cat = a lost cat or one that doesn’t have a home)
- A stray rocket fired at a government building veered off course and hit some homes instead.
- This building is a shelter for stray, adolescent teens.
Is this cat a stray or does it belong to someone?
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This page was first published on February 17, 2012.