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From Middle English afraien (to terrify, frighten), borrowed from Anglo-Norman afrayer (to terrify, disquiet, disturb), from Old French effreer, esfreer (to disturb, remove the peace from) (compare modern French effrayer), from Vulgar Latin *exfridāre or from es- (ex-) + freer (to secure, secure the peace), from Frankish *friþu (security, peace), from Proto-Germanic *friþuz (peace), from *frijōną (to free; to love), from Proto-Indo-European *prāy-, *prēy- (to like, love). Cognate with Old High German fridu (peace), Old English friþ (peace, frith), Old English frēod (peace, friendship), German Friede (peace). Compare also afear. More at free, friend.



affray (plural affrays)

  1. The act of suddenly disturbing any one; an assault or attack.
    A 22-year-old man was also arrested in connection with the incident for affray towards attending paramedics.[1]
  2. A tumultuous assault or quarrel.
  3. The fighting of two or more persons, in a public place, to the terror of others.
    The affray in the busy marketplace caused great terror and disorder.




affray (third-person singular simple present affrays, present participle affraying, simple past and past participle affrayed)

  1. To startle from quiet; to alarm.
    • Chaucer
      Smale foules a great heap / That had afrayed [affrayed] me out of my sleep.
  2. To frighten; to scare; to frighten away.
    • Shakespeare
      That voice doth us affray.