I heard this on a radio forecast:

....could see a stray shower.

If I heard it correctly, what does a stray shower truly mean?

Appreciate if someone can describe what a stray shower or thunderstorm would be like!

  • You sure it was "straight" and not a similar-sounding word like "strange" or "late"?
    – Andrew
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:14
  • @Andrew yeah, I would not expect a strange shower from a weather broadcast. I'm sure it's not the word late. Maybe, it's a strain, strained or stray shower? It seems that stray shower make more sense here.
    – dan
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:40
  • @Andrew yeah, I also found this in a dictionary: There is a 20 percent chance of precipitation, with a stray shower or thunderstorm possible in the afternoon. can you describe a little bit on what a stray shower or thunderstorm would be like? Maybe in an answer? Thanks!
    – dan
    Jun 10, 2018 at 1:50
  • You most certainly heard stray, not straight. "Stray showers" is commonly-heard in forecasts.
    – J.R.
    Jun 10, 2018 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


I agree you probably heard "stray shower".

"Stray" (adj). depending on context, means occasional, possible, isolated, and/or brief.

The sky was a perfect blue that day, with the occasional stray cloud wandering by.

We do log a few stray attempts to hack the server each day, but none ever get past the firewall.

A "stray shower" would mean a little bit of rain here and there, but nothing serious or long-lasting. Of course, every region has a different notion of what might be "a little bit" of rain.

  • What will be the difference between a scattered shower and a stray shower?
    – dan
    Jun 10, 2018 at 2:07
  • @dan Not really a lot. It depends on context. Scattered means more here and there while stray means more occasional ... but still that's kind of my opinion. It's not anything official.
    – Andrew
    Jun 10, 2018 at 2:49
  • 1
    @Dan, a scattered shower may be one of a number of showers in the area; a stray shower might not be. Jun 10, 2018 at 8:23
  • RE: scattered vs. stray: I wonder if a "stray shower" is a popular layman's term for an isolated shower.
    – J.R.
    Jun 10, 2018 at 10:50
  • 2
    @J.R. For me it's a sort of picturesque metaphor. A stray shower is like a stray cat that, for no reason, wanders over to where you are, rubs itself all over everything, howls for attention, and then suddenly wanders off because it feels like leaving. Scattered showers are more like a herd of buffalo, dotting the open plain here and there.
    – Andrew
    Jun 10, 2018 at 14:11

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