pray

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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”; akin to Sanskrit prach “to ask”, Old English frignan, fricgan, German fragen, Dutch vragen. Confer deprecate, imprecate, precarious.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
    Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca.
  2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
  3. (religion) to communicate with God for any reason.

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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 Help:How to check translations.

Adverb[edit]

pray (not comparable)

  1. 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?"
    • Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, Chapter 10, 1841:
      Pray don’t ask me why, pray don’t be sorry, pray don’t be vexed with me!
    • Frederick Marryat, The Mission, Chapter XXI, 1845:
      Well, Major, pray tell us your adventures, for you have frightened us dreadfully.
    • 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?