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”), from Proto-Italic *preks, from Proto-Indo-European *preḱ- (“to ask, woo”).
- (religion) To direct words, thoughts, or one's attention to God or any higher being, for the sake of adoration, thanks, petition for help, etc.
- Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca.
- 2021 January 13, Bethan McKernan, “Turkey drought: Istanbul could run out of water in 45 days”, in The Guardian:
- The critically low level of rainfall in the second half of 2020 – approaching 50% year on year for November – led the religious affairs directorate to instruct imams and their congregations to pray for rain last month.
- To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
- (obsolete) To ask earnestly for; to seek to obtain by supplication; to entreat for.
- To wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome.
- She is praying that the Red Sox will win tonight.
- (obsolete) To implore, to entreat, to request.
- 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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Ellipsis of I pray you, I pray thee, whence also prithee.
pray (not comparable)
- (archaic or formal) Please; used to make a polite request
- pray silence for…
- 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter 8, in Emma: […], volume (please specify |volume=I, II or III), London: […] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, OCLC 1708336:
- "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?"
- Alternative form of
- 20 September 2013, Martina Hyde, “Is the pope Catholic?”, in The Guardian:
- He is a South American, so perhaps revolutionary spirit courses through Francis's veins. But what, pray, does the Catholic church want with doubt?
- Alternative form of
- 1470–1483 (date produced), Thomas Malory, “[Morte Arthur]”, in Le Morte Darthur (British Library Additional Manuscript 59678), [England: s.n.], folio 449, verso, lines 15–18:
- Than ſpake ẜ Gawayne And ſeyde brothir · ẜ Aggravayne I pray you and charge you meve no ſuch · maters no more a fore me fro wyte you well I woll nat be of youre counceyle //
- Then spoke Sir Gawain, and said, “Brother, Sir Agrivain, I pray you and charge you move not such matters any more before me, for be ye assured I will not be of your counsel.”