af·​fray | \ ə-ˈfrā How to pronounce affray (audio) \

Definition of affray

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 archaic : fray, brawl
2 chiefly British : a fight in a public place that disturbs the peace


affrayed; affraying; affrays

Definition of affray (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of affray in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hood was arraigned on a charge of affray and pleaded not guilty. Laura Crimaldi,, 30 July 2022 Later in July, investigators identified a 15-year-old suspect and charged him with murder and affray, according to police. Henri Hollis, ajc, 30 Nov. 2021 The man was later arrested and charged with animal cruelty and affray. Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2021 He also was arrested in 2009 on misdemeanor affray charges after being involved in a fight and fleeing police. Mark Inabinett |, al, 13 Dec. 2019 The police said the 43-year-old man has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and affray. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, 23 Nov. 2019 Each has been charged with either assault and battery on a police officer or assault, accosting, affray, or carrying a dangerous weapon. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2019 Despite serving a ten-month imprisonment for affray in 2012, the striker became a firm favourite amongst fans, being handed the armband at the start of the team's promotion-winning campaign of 2014/15., 29 June 2019 Harrison, in addition to felony murder charges, is also facing first- and second-degree cruelty to children, simple battery and affray. Breanna Edwards, Essence, 24 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affray.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of affray


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for affray


Middle English afray, affray "fright, consternation, assault, brawl," borrowed from Anglo-French effrei, esfrei, affrai, noun derivative of esfreier, effreier, affraier "to frighten, startle" — more at affray entry 2


Middle English afraien, affraien "to disturb, frighten, attack, brawl," borrowed from Anglo-French esfreier, effreier, (with prefix alternation) affreer, affraier "to frighten, startle," going back to Gallo-Romance *exfridāre, from Latin ex- ex- entry 1 + Gallo-Romance *-fridāre, derivative from Old Low Franconian *friðu "peace, tranquility," going back to Germanic *friþu- (whence Old English friþ "peace, security, protection," Old Saxon friđu, Old High German fridu, Old Norse friðr), derivative, with the suffix *-tu-, of *fri(j)a- free entry 1

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The first known use of affray was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Affray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for affray


af·​fray | \ ə-ˈfrā How to pronounce affray (audio) \

Legal Definition of affray

: a fight between two or more people in a public place that disturbs the peace

History and Etymology for affray

Middle French affrai, effrai fright, disturbance, from affraier, effreer to terrify


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