Also found in: Legal.
1. To deviate from what is good or expected. It's not hard to get that professor to go astray and start ranting about current events.
2. To become lost. A: "It seems my coat has gone astray." B: "Hmm, maybe someone picked it up by mistake."
3. To become fraught with error or proceed in a way that will not lead to success or a positive outcome. We finally had to call in a professional after my efforts to fix the boiler went astray. My life goals just kind of went astray for a time in my twenties, but I've gotten back on track.
1. Lit. to wander off the road or path. Stick to the path and try not to go astray. I couldn't see the trail and I almost went astray.
2. Fig. [for something] to get lost or misplaced. My glasses have gone astray again. Mary's book went astray or maybe it was stolen.
3. Fig. to turn bad or wander from the way of goodness; to make an error. I'm afraid your son has gone astray and gotten into a bit of trouble. Iwent astray with the computer program at this point.
Wander off the right path or subject; also, wander into evil or error. For example, It was hard to follow the lecturer's gist, since he kept going astray, or The gang members led him astray, and he ended up in court. This expression alludes to sheep or other animals that stray from the rest of the flock. Indeed, Handel's oratorio Messiah (1741) has this chorus: "All we like sheep have gone astray, Every one to his own way." [c. 1300]
1 become lost; be stolen: Several letters went astray or were not delivered. ♢ We locked up our valuables so they wouldn’t go astray.
2 go in the wrong direction or have the wrong result: Fortunately the gunman’s shots went astray.