intr.v. strag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
a. To move or proceed slowly or in a scattered or irregular group: "The millworkers straggled out for lunch" (Carson McCullers).
b. To move or lag behind another or others: "Bawling calves straggled after cows" (Jean M. Auel).
2. To extend or be spread out: "The willow herb straggled over the heaps of rubble" (George Orwell).
3. To hang limply or loosely: "the potbellied man, whose dirty hair straggled to his shoulders" (Stephen King).
A scattered or disorderly group, as of people or things.
[Middle English straglen, to wander.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.