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)

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Examples of affray in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chambers, insulted by the affray, challenged Rowan to a duel. Stuart Sanders, The Courier-Journal, "Before Burr shot Hamilton, this 1800s Kentucky duel ended in bloodshed," 13 June 2019 Father and mothers, sisters, brothers and hosts of others who have relatives or close friends in the affray or on the worldwide battlefields needed no coffee to keep them awake the rest of the night. Dallas News, "D-Day as Dallas lived it," 6 June 2019 Both the 6-foot, 191-pound Mills and the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Robinson were charged with disorderly affray, which generally refers to fighting in a public place. Howard Fendrich, The Seattle Times, "DC police: Eagles’ Mills, Wiz’s Robinson arrested for fight," 13 Apr. 2019 Waiters now faces charges of assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, affray and threats, according to officials. Travis Andersen,, "Dorchester man charged with biting Boston police officer," 25 June 2018 White is charged with assault and battery, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and affray, the release said. Travis Andersen,, "Dorchester man charged with biting Boston police officer," 25 June 2018 They were charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, disruption of school activities and affray. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 10 May 2018 The arrests were for alleged offences including affray, ticket touting and breaching banning and dispersal orders., "Eight People Arrested After Manchester Brawl Before United's 3-2 Win Against City," 8 Apr. 2018 All of the three teens involved were charged with public affray, police said. Wbtv, charlotteobserver, "NC mom accused of pulling knife on son’s bullies is suing CMS | Charlotte Observer," 13 Feb. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for affray

Last Updated

28 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for affray

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

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English Language Learners Definition of affray

chiefly British, law, formal : a noisy fight between two or more people in a public place


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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for affray

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