digress vs stray what difference

what is difference between digress and stray



From Latin digressum, past participle of digredi.


  • Hyphenation: di‧gress
  • IPA(key): /daɪˈɡɹɛs/, /dɪˈɡɹɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


digress (third-person singular simple present digresses, present participle digressing, simple past and past participle digressed)

  1. (intransitive) To step or turn aside; to deviate; to swerve; especially, to turn aside from the main subject of attention, or course of argument, in writing or speaking.
    • Moreover she beginneth to digress in latitude.
  2. (intransitive) To turn aside from the right path; to transgress; to offend.
    • 1623, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, Act 5 Scene 3
      Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
      And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
      This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

Usage notes

Often heard in the set phrase But I digress, where the word behaves as a stative verb, whereas it otherwise patterns as a dynamic verb.


  • (turn from the course of argument): sidetrack

Related terms

  • digression
  • digressive
  • excursive




  • enPR: strā, IPA(key): /stɹeɪ/
  • Rhymes: -eɪ

Etymology 1

From Middle English stray, strey, from Anglo-Norman estray, stray, Old French estrai, from the verb (see below).


stray (plural strays)

  1. Any domestic animal that has no enclosure nor proper place and company, but that instead wanders at large or is lost; an estray.
  2. One who is lost, literally or figuratively.
  3. An act of wandering off or going astray.
  4. (historical) An area of common land for use by domestic animals generally.
  5. (radio) An instance of atmospheric interference.
    • 1926, Popular Radio (volume 9, page 191)
      This invention relates broadly to radio communication, but more particularly to a radio receiving system used for the reception of high frequency current signals wherever they are subject to interference from “static” or strays of an untuned or aperiodic character.
    • 1942, John C. Mathisson, Radio Acoustic Ranging (page 652)
      Because of their shortness, such signals are usually easy to distinguish from the bomb returns but, when such a stray is recorded just before the bomb return, too close to be distinguished by ear []
    • 1976, IEEE Power Engineering Society, Nuclear Power: Health, Safety, Waste Disposal (page 20)
      Electromagnetic interference EMI, radio interference RI, television interference TVI, and radio frequency interference RFI, can all be described as a confusion to received radio signals due to strays and undesirable signals.
Related terms
  • astray
  • estray

Etymology 2

From Middle English strayen, partly from Old French estraier, from Vulgar Latin via strata, and partly from Middle English strien, streyen, streyȝen (to spread, scatter), from Old English strēġan (to strew).


stray (third-person singular simple present strays, present participle straying, simple past and past participle strayed)

  1. (intransitive) To wander, as from a direct course; to deviate, or go out of the way.
    • 1642, John Denham, Cooper’s Hill
      Thames among the wanton valleys strays.
  2. (intransitive) To wander from company or outside proper limits; to rove or roam at large; to go astray.
  3. (intransitive) To wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err.
    • November 2 2014, Daniel Taylor, “Sergio Agüero strike wins derby for Manchester City against 10-man United,” guardian.co.uk
      It was a derby that left Manchester United a long way back in Manchester City’s wing-mirrors and, in the worst moments, straying dangerously close to being their own worst enemy.
  4. (transitive) To cause to stray; lead astray.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, V. i. 51:
      Hath not else his eye / Strayed his affection in unlawful love,
    • 1899, John Buchan, No Man’s Land
      To ease myself I was compelled to leave my basket behind me, trusting to return and find it, if I should ever reach safety and discover on what pathless hill I had been strayed.

Etymology 3

From Middle English stray, from the noun (see above).


stray (not comparable)

  1. Having gone astray; strayed; wandering
  2. In the wrong place; misplaced.
    a stray comma
Derived terms
  • stray line
  • stray mark



  • T-rays, artsy, satyr, stary, trays, yrast

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