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



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

  1. To pay or discharge (a debt, expense etc.); to meet (the cost of something).
    Synonyms: finance, (obsolete, rare) fray, offset
    • 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.
  2. (archaic) To pay for (something).
  3. (obsolete) To spend (money).