The wide-field infrared explorer (WIRE) is a cryogenically cooled infrared telescope designed to study the evolution of galaxies. Presented in this paper is the stray light design and analysis of WIRE. Unwanted radiation from off-axis sources such as the moon, and thermal emissions from the aperture shade are suppressed by the use of key stray light design features. These include the placement of the aperture stop at the secondary mirror, tapering of the main baffle vanes, and use of ring baffles for the secondary obscuration and outer ring. Details concerning the issues of baffle design, mirror scatter, and non-optical component scatter are provided. The point source transmission (PST) curve, which characterizes the sensor's off-axis response, and the aperture shade thermal contribution were computed using the stray light analysis program APART. The results indicate that the stray light impact on the WIRE mission is minimal.© (1997) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.