straggle

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English straglen, of uncertain origin.

Verb[edit]

straggle (third-person singular simple present straggles, present participle straggling, simple past and past participle straggled)

  1. To stray from the road, course or line of march.
    He straggled away from the crowd and went off on his own.
  2. To wander about; ramble.
    • L'Estrange
      The wolf spied out a straggling kid.
  3. To spread at irregular intervals.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 7, The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      Then there was no more cover, for they straggled out, not in ranks but clusters, from among orange trees and tall, flowering shrubs [] .
  4. To escape or stretch beyond proper limits, as the branches of a plant; to spread widely apart; to shoot too far or widely in growth.
    • Mortimer
      Trim off the small, superfluous branches on each side of the hedge that straggle too far out.
  5. To be dispersed or separated; to occur at intervals.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      straggling pistol shots
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      They came between Scylla and Charybdis and the straggling rocks.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

straggle (plural straggles)

  1. The act of straggling.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Carlyle to this entry?)