See also: Pray

EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English preien, from Anglo-Norman preier, from Old French preier, proier, (French prier), from Late Latin *precāre, from Latin precārī, present active infinitive of precor, from prex, precis (a prayer, a request), from Proto-Indo-European *preḱ- (to ask, woo). Cognate via Indo-European of Old English frignan, fricgan, German fragen, Dutch vragen. Confer deprecate, imprecate, precarious.

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

pray (third-person singular simple present prays, present participle praying, simple past and past participle prayed)

  1. (religion) To direct words, thoughts, or one's attention to God or any higher being, for the sake of adoration, thanks, petition for help, etc.
    Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca.
    • 2021 January 13, Bethan McKernan, “Turkey drought: Istanbul could run out of water in 45 days”, in The Guardian:
      The critically low level of rainfall in the second half of 2020 – approaching 50% year on year for November – led the religious affairs directorate to instruct imams and their congregations to pray for rain last month.
  2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
  3. (obsolete) To ask earnestly for; to seek to obtain by supplication; to entreat for.
  4. To wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome.
    She is praying that the Red Sox will win tonight.
  5. (obsolete) To implore, to entreat, to request.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
TranslationsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2Edit

Ellipsis of I pray you, I pray thee, whence also prithee.

AdverbEdit

pray (not comparable)

  1. (archaic or formal) Please; used to make a polite request
    pray silence for…
    • 1816, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume 1 Chapter 8
      "Pray, Mr. Knightley," said Emma, who had been smiling to herself through a great part of this speech, "how do you know that Mr. Martin did not speak yesterday?"
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, Chapter 10
      Pray don’t ask me why, pray don’t be sorry, pray don’t be vexed with me!
    • 1845, Frederick Marryat, The Mission, Chapter XXI
      Well, Major, pray tell us your adventures, for you have frightened us dreadfully.
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
      Thank you. I am sorry to have interrupted you. Pray continue your most interesting statement.
  2. Alternative form of pray tell (I ask you (insincerely))
    • 2013, Martina Hyde, Is the pope Catholic? (in The Guardian, 20 September 2013)[1]
      He is a South American, so perhaps revolutionary spirit courses through Francis's veins. But what, pray, does the Catholic church want with doubt?

Middle EnglishEdit

VerbEdit

pray

  1. Alternative form of preie
    • 1470–1483 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “[Morte Arthur]”, in Le Morte Darthur (British Library Additional Manuscript 59678), [England: s.n.], folio 449, verso, lines 15–18:
      Than ſpake ẜ Gawayne And ſeyde brothir · ẜ Aggravayne I pray you and charge you meve no ſuch · maters no more a fore me fro wyte you well I woll nat be of youre counceyle //
      Then spoke Sir Gawain, and said, “Brother, Sir Agrivain, I pray you and charge you move not such matters any more before me, for be ye assured I will not be of your counsel.”