stray

[strey]
verb (used without object)
1.
to deviate from the direct course, leave the proper place, or go beyond the proper limits, especially without a fixed course or purpose; ramble: to stray from the main road.
2.
to wander; roam: The new puppy strayed from room to room.
3.
to go astray; deviate, as from a moral, religious, or philosophical course: to stray from the teachings of the church.
4.
to digress or become distracted.
noun
5.
a domestic animal found wandering at large or without an owner.
6.
any homeless or friendless person or animal.
7.
a person or animal that strays: the strays of a flock.
8.
strays, Radio. static.
adjective
9.
straying or having strayed, as a domestic animal.
10.
found or occurring apart from others or as an isolated or casual instance; incidental or occasional.
11.
Radio. undesired: stray capacitance.

Origin:
1250–1300; (v.) Middle English strayen, aphetic variant of astraien, estraien < Middle French estraier < Vulgar Latin *extrāvagāre to wander out of bounds (see extravagant); (noun) Middle English, in part derivative of the v., in part < Anglo-French stray, Middle French estrai, derivative of estraier

strayer, noun
unstraying, adjective


1. rove, range. 2. meander. 3. err.
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World English Dictionary
stray (streɪ)
 
vb
1.  to wander away, as from the correct path or from a given area
2.  to wander haphazardly
3.  to digress from the point, lose concentration, etc
4.  to deviate from certain moral standards
 
n
5.  a.  a domestic animal, fowl, etc, that has wandered away from its place of keeping and is lost
 b.  (as modifier): stray dogs
6.  a lost or homeless person, esp a child: waifs and strays
7.  an isolated or random occurrence, specimen, etc, that is out of place or outside the usual pattern
 
adj
8.  scattered, random, or haphazard: a stray bullet grazed his thigh
 
[C14: from Old French estraier, from Vulgar Latin estragāre (unattested), from Latin extrā- outside + vagāri to roam; see astray, extravagant, stravaig]
 
'strayer
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

stray
c.1300, aphetic of O.Fr. estraier "wander about," lit. "go about the streets," from estree "route, highway," from L.L. via strata "paved road" (see street). On another theory, the O.Fr. is from V.L. *estragare, a contraction of *estravagare, representing L. extra vagari
"to wander outside" (see extravagant). Fig. sense of "to wander from the path of rectitude" is attested from early 14c. The noun meaning "domestic animal found wandering" is earlier (early 13c.), from O.Fr. estraié "strayed," pp. of estraier. The adj. is first recorded c.1600.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
My missive would be lost or tossed as a stray crank.
It also doesn't matter if you hunt stray cats for sport.
At weekends and holidays, stray bullets whiz as often as fireworks.
The foundation plans to finance a sterilization program on the island to reduce
  the stray overpopulation.
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