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Middle EnglishEdit

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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)

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