stray

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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 for them.
See also: and, stray

stray in

1. To wander in(to some place), especially when one is not supposed to be there. Make sure not to leave the back doors open, or feral cats will stray in during the night. Some child strayed in the laboratory and began fiddling with the sensitive machinery inside.
2. To wander aimlessly around some place. A noun or pronoun can be used between "stray" and "in." Don't let the children stray in the forest, or they will surely get lost. We were just idly straying in the field, admiring the silence of the falling snow.
See also: stray

stray into (some place)

To wander into some place, especially when one is not supposed to be there. Make sure not to leave the back doors open, or feral cats will stray in during the night. Some child strayed in the laboratory and began fiddling with the sensitive machinery inside.
See also: stray

stray on

1. To wander on(to something or some place), especially when one is not supposed to be there. I keep an electrified fence around my fields to keep wild animals from straying on at night. Be sure not to stray on Old Man Cratchit's land—he's liable to shoot you if he catches you!
2. To wander around on some area or piece of land. We spent the afternoon straying idly on the beach. I watched the kids straying on the field across the street, trying to catch the falling snow on their tongues.
See also: on, stray

stray onto (some place)

To wander onto something or some place, especially when one is not supposed to be there. I keep an electrified fence around my fields to keep wild animals from straying onto it at night. Be sure not to stray onto Old Man Cratchit's land—he's liable to shoot you if he catches you!
See also: 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