A term used in various models of non-linear phonology, describing a unit (e.g. a syllable, a segment) which falls outside the conventions of a representation and which therefore needs to be handled in a special way. For example, in metrical phonology a stray syllable produced by destressing needs to be adjoined to another node in the word tree (stray syllable adjuntion). Stray eraser is a procedure which deletes segments which cannot be incorporated into a well-formed syllable. It is particularly used in relation to consonants, where it accounts for certain types of syllable shortening and consonant deletion.