Share this entry

straggle Syllabification: strag·gle
Pronunciation: /ˈstraɡəl/

Definition of straggle in English:


[no object]
1Move along slowly, typically in a small irregular group, so as to remain some distance behind the person or people in front: half the men were already straggling back into the building (as adjective straggling) only a few straggling kids remained
More example sentences
  • We could see a group straggling behind, and then things got nasty; this was when several people were arrested and police dogs were used.
  • At 6pm, Masters, rum in pocket, swaggers down the street like a dishevelled Pied Piper with about 60 young devotees straggling along behind him.
  • As the group straggled in, curious as to why they were contacted, they saw that Ken and Amy were already sitting at the table.
1.1Grow, spread, or be laid out in an irregular, untidy way: her hair was straggling over her eyes
More example sentences
  • It grows to about 60 cm high, and is best raised annually from seed or cuttings as it soon starts to straggle and look unattractively untidy.
  • They were dressed as most bikers do, in leather, blue jeans, helmets, sun glasses, long, greasy hair straggling over the edge of their collars, scruffy moustaches and beards covering their faces.
  • Her sari was torn, her hair straggling, her fingernails ruined.


Back to top  
An untidy or irregularly arranged mass or group of something: a straggle of cottages
More example sentences
  • He returns to the place of his childhood holidays on the Gold Coast to find that the straggle of fibro cottages has given way to rows of anonymous high-rise apartments.
  • Armed with 18th century maps he showed me the straggle of ruined cottages once occupied by poor country folk who worked for a pittance on local farms.
  • Worth visiting amongst a plethora of architectural gems are the palace, the tollbooth and the abbey but most enjoyable of all, are the little houses, randomly set against each other in an untidy straggle up the winding lanes.


Late Middle English: perhaps from dialect strake 'go'.



Pronunciation: /ˈstraɡ(ə)lər/
Example sentences
  • The majority have returned to breeding grounds by late March, but stragglers have lingered locally until the end of May.
  • The library was nearly deserted except for a few stragglers checking out books or reading in corners.
  • No, the last stragglers, the tourists and the visitors, have now left the palace.

Words that rhyme with straggle

draggle, gaggle, haggle, raggle-taggle, waggle

Definition of straggle in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly