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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 periodicals archive ?
But Chittilappilly has decided to doggedly stick to his plan to rid streets across Kerala of strays.
Strays tells what happens when two wandering creatures find one another, overcoming their fears to make friends and rise above their dark reputations.
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.
The bodies will also, in a joint effort, identify the present population of strays in the Capital.
I take care of the strays, feed them and pick them up to take to the vet if they're sick or wounded.
Under a Freedom of Information request, figures released show that Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have seen a drop in the numbers of stray dogs found in the last year but Stockton has seen a slight increase in the number of strays.
More than 1,500 strays a year find their way to the Stray Aid Rescue Centre, Cornforth Lane, Coxhoe, in County Durham, a charity that strives to rehome unwanted pets.
Around 20 strays are waiting to be homed in Cannock Chase after being picked up by dog wardens.
Many of the animals are healthy but lost, while others are genuine strays leading a nomadic life.
NNA - 14/02/2011 Animals Lebanon, a non-profit organization that rescues stray, abandoned and abused animals reached out through its website and Facebook page to all animal lovers in recognition of Spay Day International, offering reduced prices on neutering pets and strays to help reduce the problem of over-population of strays on the streets of Lebanon.
The animal charity said that, typically, 26 stray dogs are discovered each day in Wales, and that every week 269 strays must be put to sleep.
It is also giving away 18 kilograms of cat biscuits to people feeding strays and helping the association to capture the strays.
The council's animal trespass team patrols known "hot spot" areas and can respond - with a vehicle to collect the strays - at specific times when there is a problem.
REGARDING the text from a worried animal lover about problems finding an agency to collect a stray dog, all strays are the responsibility of the local authority and dealt with by their dog warden service.
Between March 2005 and April 2006, some 6,222 strays in the region were rescued from the streets, compared to 7,584 for the previous 12 months.