Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
From Middle English straglen, of uncertain origin.
- To stray from the road, course or line of march.
- He straggled away from the crowd and went off on his own.
- To wander about; ramble.
- To spread at irregular intervals.
Derived terms 
straggle (plural straggles)
- The act of straggling.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Carlyle to this entry?)