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.
pray (third-person singular simple present prays, present participle praying, simple past and past participle prayed)
- To petition or solicit help from a supernatural or higher being.
- To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
- (religion) to communicate with God for any reason.
Derived terms 
to petition a higher being
- Arabic: صلى (ar) (ṣállā), imperfect: يصلي (ar) (yuṣallī)
- Syriac: ܨܠܝ (ṣalé)
- Armenian: աղոթել (hy) (aġot’el)
- Burmese: ပူဇော် (my) (puzaw), ကိုးကွယ် (my) (ko:gwè), ရှိခိုး (my) (shi.hko:)
- Catalan: resar (ca), pregar (ca)
- Mandarin: 祈禱 (cmn), 祈祷 (cmn) (qídǎo), 禱告 (cmn), 祷告 (cmn) (dǎogào)
- Czech: modlit se
- Danish: bede, tilbede
- Dutch: bidden (nl)
- Esperanto: preĝi (eo)
- Finnish: rukoilla (fi), anoa (fi), pyytää (fi)
- French: prier (fr)
- Georgian: ლოცვა (ka) (lotsva)
- German: beten (de)
- Hawaiian: pule
- Hebrew: התפלל (he) (hitpalél)
- Hindi: प्रार्थना करना (hi) (prārthanā karnā)
- Icelandic: biðja (is)
- Irish: guigh (ga)
- Old Irish: guidid
- 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.
Translations to be checked
- Norwegian: please add this translation if you can
- Old English: please add this translation if you can
- Romanian: a (te) ruga
- Sanskrit: please add this translation if you can
- Serbo-Croatian: молити
- Slovak: modlitba
- Tamil: please add this translation if you can
- Telugu: ప్రార్థించు (praarthimchu) (1, 2, 3)
- Turkish: dua etmek
- Urdu: please add this translation if you can
- Vietnamese: please add this translation if you can
- Welsh: gweddïo
pray (not comparable)
- please; used to make a polite request.
- 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.