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The following sentence is from a book. The context is the main characters just finished fighting some monsters. One character looks distracted, and when one of the others asks her if there's something wrong, she says:

いえね、さっきの化け物が単独。もしくは、ハグレなら問題はないのだけれど。

Since there is no kanji with ハグレ, I'm having problems trying to figure out what they're talking about. Does anyone have an idea based on context? I guessed maybe the word 逸れる, but I'm not sure it makes sense here. Thanks.

  • I believe you are correct. – Tomm Jan 15 '16 at 21:39
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Yes that ハグレ is from the verb はぐれる and means "lone wanderer", "stray one", etc.

はぐれ as a noun is definitely rare and is almost never used in daily conversations. But J-RPG fans are somewhat familiar with this word because はぐれメタル (Liquid Metal Slime in English) is one of the most popular monsters in the Dragon Quest franchise. Actually I feel her use of ハグレ is a reference to this monster.

Aside from this, the only word I know which contains はぐれ is the title of this TV drama.

  • It's a bit unclear from this answer whether only はぐれ as a noun is rare or the verb はぐれる too. – macraf Jan 16 '16 at 0:05
  • @macraf You're right. I edited the answer. – naruto Jan 16 '16 at 1:03
  • I'd like to mention that the old English translations also call the monster Metal Babble or Metabble (generally in the games where the bubble slime バブルスライム is called Babble). – Aeon Akechi Jan 16 '16 at 1:12
  • Summon Night games use it as はぐれ召喚獣, so it seems はぐれ is simply the quality of being a stray monster (as opposed to having an owner or boss). But I will not pretend to know anything about Japanese. – HalfKiloByte Jan 16 '16 at 3:14
  • I've been under the impression that はぐれ usually suggests whoever is nonconformist and maverick. Also I remember that はぐれ銃鍛冶 in Cave Story is translated as "Hermit Gunsmith". – broccoli forest Jan 16 '16 at 9:02
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Possibly would be from the はぐれる(strayed-verb) made into a noun (stray - noun). Like 群れから逸れる strayed from the pack.

So your sentence would be "yes, well, if that monster was just by itself. Or, if it was a stray, there wouldn't be any problem, but..."

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