early 15c., "to wander from the proper path, stray, to rove from one's companions," perhaps from a Scandinavian source (compare dialectal Norwegian stragla "to walk laboriously"), or a frequentative of Middle English straken "to move, go." Specifically of soldiers, "be dispersed, be apart from the main body," from 1520s. Related: Straggled; straggling.
updated on December 05, 2013
Dictionary entries near straggle