Definition of astray in US English:



  • 1Away from the correct path or direction.

    ‘we went astray but a man redirected us’
    • ‘Her desk was long and perfectly organized, no papers astray, knick-knacks aligned along her bookshelf along with portraits of her children, I assumed.’
    • ‘The Thomians, however, had plenty of chances of surging through to a lead but due to some silly mistakes and penalties being kicked astray, they lost that opportunity.’
    • ‘The Reds were rewarded with two penalties but they were kicked astray due to poor direction.’
    • ‘A police spokeswoman said: ‘A firework went astray into the watching crowd resulting in a number of people being injured.’’
    • ‘He was wearing red plaid boxers and his hair was astray.’
    • ‘Instead, passes fled astray in alarming numbers amid erratic play.’
    • ‘Melodramatic, we aimed at looks we didn't quite achieve: our hair a bit astray, our hems a bit uneven.’
    • ‘And then when they arrive in Kerry, their problems are compounded as they're confronted with confused and disjointed signage that could send them astray for another hour.’
    • ‘During this period both teams tried hard to open up the play but far too often hand passes went astray and possession was lost.’
    • ‘Nothing seemed to be astray, everything was in its place.’
    • ‘We found out later that the actual bombs (as opposed to the simulated ones) never did have such accuracy and that many of them went astray and killed civilians.’
    • ‘The half-backs were a little astray at times with Campbell somewhat quieter than his impressive display against Kildare last time out.’
    • ‘As the rain came down, conditions turned slippery during the second half and passes went astray on both sides.’
    • ‘He'd have to chance wandering astray in the woods.’
    • ‘Their assessment is that bomb that went astray hit the side of a mountain about 3,000 yards from its intended target.’
    • ‘Bleary-eyed and hair astray, Alice answered the door.’
    • ‘Artificial lights are leading some migratory birds to go astray.’
    • ‘The child could accurately be described as cute: her large, smiling green eyes dotted with hazel specks and golden hair that flew astray as she danced in the sunlight.’
    • ‘The study team suspect the bird evolved into a separate island race having been blown astray and marooned on Wangi Wangi, part of the Tukangbesi archipelago.’
    • ‘She slid into a seat beside a nice-looking sophomore and tried to focus on something else besides the pending day at school, but her mind never wandered too far astray from the subject.’
    • ‘Beachfront development, with its artificial lighting, lures turtles astray as they mistake the lights for the moon, causing them to get stranded.’
    • ‘But beware the weather and make sure your navigation is up to scratch lest you be led astray, for this is wild country and the consequences can be serious.’
    • ‘A couple delayed their wedding when bad directions led the groom's parents astray.’
    • ‘Presently, they have a mature adult tortoiseshell cat who was spotted astray in Kirkbymoorside for several months before being brought into their care with a nasty skin infection around her head.’
    • ‘Children are naïve and will often wander astray through curiosity.’
    off target, wide of the mark, wide, awry
    View synonyms
  • 2Into error or morally questionable behavior.

    ‘he was led astray by boozy colleagues’
    • ‘While I would far rather my daughter grew up reading Jane Austen than Bliss, I do not believe that an early preoccupation with boys, make-up and pop stars will lead her irrevocably astray.’
    • ‘Hiding behind the hackneyed theme of a ruler being led astray by evil advisers, Becket could have been in no doubt that the scheme had been orchestrated by Henry.’
    • ‘The immediate suspect is Jim Tanner, a famous pop idol who has settled on the island and made himself unpopular with the locals, who accuse him of leading their youngsters astray.’
    • ‘One of the worst features of this sorry business is that the Australian people have been led astray by the untruths and falsehoods uttered by our leaders on this subject.’
    • ‘Over the next two days, it grew clear to me that this gentleman had simply been led astray by his employers.’
    • ‘They are easily led astray by persuasive talkers, advertisers, and politicians because they have not developed the skills necessary to analyse and judge their arguments.’
    • ‘Though he describes several ways intuition can lead people astray, he doesn't really dwell on how often that happens.’
    • ‘All the local churches are being asked to pray against this meeting and any subsequent ones, so that folk in our town are not led astray into things that are evil.’
    • ‘It is hardly surprising that some are led astray.’
    • ‘The thrifty young student comes to campus in pursuit of knowledge, only be to led astray by casual sex, recreational drugs and the sweet aromas of the roasted coffee bean.’
    • ‘We are good people, decent people, but we are being led astray by a leadership that is perpetrating a wrong.’
    • ‘The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.’
    • ‘I acted like a fool in allowing myself to be led astray and placed in such a horrible situation.’
    • ‘And in an age of changing values, many are led astray by these convenient moral attitudes persuasively promoted and advertised nationally.’
    • ‘Oh dear, I've been led astray into murky territory.’
    • ‘But equally never were there so many dangers, so many attractions that could lead young people astray.’
    • ‘In schools, where parents put their trust in teachers and dinner ladies, even the most well-intentioned child can be led astray by vending machines.’
    • ‘Youthful idealism can be led tragically astray.’
    • ‘The film will feature a girl who wants to be a journalist when she grows up and her friend, a boy led astray by his badly-behaved friends.’
    • ‘The church has long been a major opponent of sex education for the young, arguing that a frank discussion of sex would lead the innocent astray.’
    • ‘The two rulings are a triumph for hardliners at the interior ministry who lobbied for tighter controls on nightclubs that they blame for leading Thai youth astray.’
    • ‘It's leading people astray giving the message it's ok to drink lots.’
    into wrongdoing, into error, into sin, into iniquity, away from the straight and narrow, away from the path of righteousness
    View synonyms


  • go astray

    • (of an object) become lost or mislaid.

      ‘the money had gone astray’
      • ‘They could both reflect on the matchwinning chances that went astray in a thrilling finish to the drawn game.’
      • ‘Whilst our regular postman was away, quite a lot of post went astray.’
      • ‘An inquiry into the proposed development of the old Rainshore Mill site has been postponed after council documents went astray.’
      • ‘British Airways said today that as many as 20,000 bags had gone astray at Heathrow airport in recent days amid the chaos following the security crackdown.’
      • ‘Mr. Cowley records how he received three panic calls from Bermuda that day fearing that their money had gone astray, and had to make a few visits to the local branch manager.’
      • ‘However, the email that he claims to have sent her went astray, and was never received.’
      • ‘Over the weekend I'd hoped to get together with brother Kev and some others to jam some tunes, but the best laid plans, as usual, went astray.’
      • ‘After several first half chances went astray, the best opportunity for the visitors fell to Roy Makaay six minutes after the break.’
      • ‘He said: ‘It is evident that there was an item of correspondence that went astray.’’
      • ‘Furthermore, they claim that if the money goes astray, it is only after it passes through European and American banks.’
      • ‘At the end of the half they looked certain to close the gap further when Warwick threw wide to McPhillips in space, but the chance went astray.’
      • ‘Around 60 election staff were there to work through the ballots but they were held up at one point when a box of last-minute postal votes went astray.’
      • ‘Eventually, as the crowd drifts away, you realise that your suitcases have gone astray.’
      • ‘While cruise lines have practices to assist passengers whose luggage has gone astray, those procedures vary widely.’
      • ‘The community council insists that the boundary details were delivered to the inspector's address before the deadline but somehow went astray.’
      • ‘The marketing strategies of Shanghai also went astray, without shaping a handful of famous brands.’
      • ‘The Army lost my records and my mail went astray.’
      • ‘Today I got your letter, dated the 19th, and see that my last letter must have gone astray or been delayed.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘distant from the correct path’): from an Anglo-Norman French variant of Old French estraie, past participle of estraier, based on Latin extra ‘out of bounds’ + vagari ‘wander’.