What is the meaning of "stray copy" here?

At about six I tuned to Graeco Roman mythology, lead gradually by Hawthorne's "Wonder Book" and "Tanglewood Tales", and by a stray copy of "The Odyssey" legend in Harper's Half-Hour Series.

  • From the Oxford Dictionaries Online—stray: not in the right place. So presumably it's a book that wasn't intended to be given to this child at six years old. Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 11:23
  • Oh that makes sense, thank you.
    – Dennis
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 11:29

1 Answer 1


A stray copy of a book is one left lying around, on a table perhaps, or in a drawer, not one in a bookcase standing beside other books where it belongs. It is a figure of speech (weakened by much use into the mere memory of one) in which the book is likened to an animal that has wandered from the herd or flock. It is a copy that one has come upon by accident or serendipity, not one that has been deliberately taken from the shelf.

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