see also: Pray
Pronunciation Verb

pray (prays, present participle praying; past and past participle prayed)

  1. (religion) To direct words and/or thoughts to God or any higher being, for the sake of adoration, thanks, petition for help, etc.
    Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca.
  2. To humbly beg a person for aid or their time.
  3. (obsolete) To ask earnestly for; to seek to obtain by supplication; to entreat for.
    • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
      I know not how to pray your patience.
  4. (obsolete) to implore, to entreat, to request.
    • They prayd him sit, and gave him for to feed / Such homely what as serves the simple clowne, / That doth despise the dainties of the towne […]
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Adverb

pray (not comparable)

  1. Please; used to make a polite request.
    pray silence for…
    • 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?"
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, Chapter 10
      Pray don’t ask me why, pray don’t be sorry, pray don’t be vexed with me!
    • 1845, Frederick Marryat, The Mission, Chapter XXI
      Well, Major, pray tell us your adventures, for you have frightened us dreadfully.
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
      Thank you. I am sorry to have interrupted you. Pray continue your most interesting statement.
    • 2013, Martina Hyde, Is the pope Catholic? (in The Guardian, 20 September 2013)
      He is a South American, so perhaps revolutionary spirit courses through Francis's veins. But what, pray, does the Catholic church want with doubt?

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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