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waifs and strays

People or animals that are in need of a place to stay. "Waif" commonly refers to a person or animal that has been abandoned. It's heartbreaking to see so many waifs and strays wandering the city streets, with no one to care of them.
See also: and, stray

stray (away) (from something)

to drift away from or wander away from a particular topic or location. (The option elements cannot be transposed.) Please don't stray from the general area of discussion. Sally strayed away from her topic a number of times.

stray in(to something)

to wander into something. The deer strayed into the town and ruined almost everyone's garden. We left the gate open, and the cows strayed in and drank from the pond.
See also: stray

stray onto something

to wander onto an area, such as a parcel of land. Your cows strayed onto my land and ate my marigolds! If your horse strays onto my land one more time, it's my horse!
See also: stray

ˌwaifs and ˈstrays

1 people with no home, especially children in a big city: There are lots of waifs and strays living on the streets here.
2 (humorous) lonely people with nowhere else to go: My wife is always inviting various waifs and strays from work to our house. She seems to attract them.
See also: and, stray
References in classic literature ?
Some conjectured that the band of Indians, whose trail they had discovered in the neighborhood of the stray horse, had been lying in wait for them in some secret fastness of the mountains; and were about to attack them on the open plain, where they would have no shelter.
May came, and stray last-year's mosquitoes, full-grown but harmless, crawled out of rock crevices and rotten logs.
A piece of stray drift-ice thumped against the boat and grated along its side.
Every person in the house felt that there was so sense in their living together, and that the stray people brought together by chance in any inn had more in common with one another than they, the members of the family and household of the Oblonskys.
Nothing clings like a suspicion in the mind of a conscientious young man that he has been allowing his heart to stray from its proper anchorage.
I know what thou want'st stray linen drying on hedges, and stray poultry, eh?
A lost land-bird of strange plumage strays on board, and is made a captive: out of clean shaved rods of right-whale bone, and cross-beams of sperm whale ivory, the carpenter makes a pagoda-looking cage for it.
Thiruvananthapuram: The stray dog menace in Kerala has ballooned into a major political issue in the state, with a businessman launching a day-long fast to draw attention to the problem, and some candidates in the local council elections using it as a campaign point.
RAWALPINDI -- incidents of dog-biting have been on rise in the Rawalpindi city as the Tehsil Municipal Administration ( TMA) has failed to launch a drive against stray and rabid dogs for the last many months.
ANYBODY coming across a stray dog in Flintshire may now have to keep it for the night or over the weekend, as council collections outside of working hours are being scrapped.
Until now there is no law in Saudi Arabia that would penalize the owner of a stray camel for causing a fatal road accident," said Ahmed Al-Ashwan, a Saudi lawyer.
ISLAMABAD -- Stray dogs roaming in different parts of I10 residential sector have become a serious threat to the lives of residents as no campaign has been launched by the departments concerned to purge the area of this menace.
Contract notice: Tallinn, catching a stray pet and retention.
A pack of stray dogs attacked the animal barn of an Emirati national at the Ghalila area to the eastern north of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah on Sunday morning.
Following repeated disruption of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung's visits at government hospitals by stray dogs, the L- G has ordered the three municipal corporations to initiate a massive sterilisation campaign across the city.