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From Middle French desfrayer, French défrayer, from dé- + Old French fraier (to spend).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪˈfɹeɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


defray (third-person singular simple present defrays, present participle defraying, simple past and past participle defrayed)

  1. (obsolete) To spend (money).
  2. To pay or discharge (a debt, expense etc.); to meet (the cost of something).
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.29:
      The expenses of the war, while in progress, were defrayed by executing rich men and confiscating their property.
    • 2009, ‘A Viennese grind’, The Economist, 30 Jul 2009:
      Investors, meanwhile, got back a fraction of their money. Some say Mr Meinl’s €100m bail, paid by a source in Liechtenstein, should be used to defray their losses.
    • 2010, Roy Greenslade, The Guardian, 9 Dec 2010:
      In order to help defray the substantial costs involved, they then raised revenue through taking advertisements.
  3. (now rare) To pay for (something).