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stray / strā/ • v. [intr.] move without a specific purpose or by mistake, esp. so as to get lost or arrive somewhere where one should not be: I strayed a few blocks in the wrong direction the military arrested anyone who strayed into the exclusion zone. ∎  move so as to escape from control or leave the place where one should be: dog owners are urged not to allow their dogs to stray | fig. I appear to have strayed a long way from our original topic. ∎  [intr.] (of the eyes or a hand) move idly or casually in a specified direction: her eyes strayed to the telephone. ∎  (of a person who is married or in a long-term relationship) be unfaithful: men who stray are seen as more exciting and desirable. ∎  [intr.] poetic/lit. wander or roam in a specified direction: over these mounds the Kurdish shepherd strays.• adj. 1. not in the right place; not where it should be or where other items of the same kind are: he pushed a few stray hairs from her face. ∎  appearing somewhere by chance or accident; not part of a general pattern or plan: she was killed by a stray bullet. ∎  (of a domestic animal) having no home or having wandered away from home: stray dogs.2. Physics (of a physical quantity) arising as a consequence of the laws of physics, not by deliberate design, and usually having a detrimental effect on the operation or efficiency of equipment: stray capacitance.• n. 1. a stray person or thing, esp. a domestic animal.2. (strays) electrical phenomena interfering with radio reception.DERIVATIVES: stray·er n.