Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English freġnan(to inquire, ask), from fræġn(question), originally the preterite of Old English friġnan(to ask), from Proto-Germanic *fregnaną(to ask), from Proto-Indo-European *preḱ-(to ask, woo). Cognate with Middle Dutch vrāghen(to ask), Middle High German vrāgen(to ask), Old Danish fregne(to ask), Lithuanian prašyti(to ask), Polish prosić(to ask).



  1. to ask (someone about something), to inquire
    • c. 1370–90, William Langland, Piers Plowman, I:
      Þanne I frained hir faire · for hym þat hir made. or Then I frayned at Faith what all that fare meant and who should joust in Jerusalem.
    • c. 1390, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales:
      She fraineth and she prayeth pitously To every Jew that dwelt in thilke place To tell her if her child went ought forby.
    • fifteenth century, unknown author, The prophecies of Thomas the Rhymer:
      I frained fast what was his name, Where that he came, from what country.
  2. to ask (a question)

Related termsEdit