bray

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French braire, from Vulgar Latin bragire, from Gaulish *bragu (compare Middle Irish braigid (it crashes, explodes), Breton breugiñ (to bray); akin to English break, Latin fragor (crash), frangere (to break)).

Verb[edit]

bray (third-person singular simple present brays, present participle braying, simple past and past participle brayed)

  1. (intransitive) Of a donkey, to make its cry.
    Whenever I walked by, that donkey brayed at me.
  2. (intransitive) Of a camel, to make its cry.
  3. (intransitive) To make a harsh, discordant sound like a donkey's bray.
    He threw back his head and brayed with laughter.
  4. (transitive) To make or utter with a loud, discordant, or harsh and grating sound.
    • Milton
      Arms on armour clashing, brayed / Horrible discord.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      And varying notes the war pipes brayed.
    • Gray
      Heard ye the din of battle bray?
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

bray (plural brays)

  1. The cry of an ass or donkey.
  2. The cry of a camel
  3. Any harsh, grating, or discordant sound.
    • Jerrold
      The bray and roar of multitudinous London.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French breier (Modern French broyer).

Verb[edit]

bray (third-person singular simple present brays, present participle braying, simple past and past participle brayed)

  1. (now rare) To crush or pound, especially with a mortar.
    • Bible, Proverbs xxvii. 22
      Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar, [] yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 141:
      Their heads and shoulders are painted red with the roote Pocone brayed to powder, mixed with oyle [...].
  2. (UK, chiefly Yorkshire) By extension, to hit someone or something.
    • 2011, Sarah Hall, Butchers Perfume from The Beautiful Indifference, Faber and Faber (2011), page 25:
      If anything he brayed him all the harder - the old family bull recognising his fighting days were close to over.