1 of 2

verb (1)

brayed; braying; brays

intransitive verb

: to utter the characteristic loud harsh cry of a donkey
a braying donkey
also : to utter a sound like a donkey's
bray with laughter

transitive verb

: to utter or play loudly or harshly
"I'm the best!" he brayed.
bray noun


2 of 2

verb (2)

brayed; braying; brays

transitive verb

: to crush or grind fine
bray seeds in a mortar
: to spread thin
bray printing ink

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Leagues and team owners and sponsors will bray against it, because of their insatiable desire to make money, money and more money. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 16 Dec. 2021 Brees and everyone else who’s brayed about Kaepernick disrespecting the anthem or the flag fails to realize that those are symbols for the ideals and rights enshrined in our Constitution. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 3 June 2020 When Emily picked up dinner recently at a local restaurant, a couple of braying young customers laughed at her mask. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 23 May 2020 All hail sound designer Ben Burtt: The tittering probe droid, the braying AT-AT laserspray. Darren Franich,, 30 Oct. 2019 Expect more braying from the brash second-year signal-caller, the NFL poster child for inflated self-worth., 9 Oct. 2019 The most obvious failure of our Constitution is President Trump himself, of course, who is exactly the sort of corrupt, braying champion of the mob that our Founding Fathers devoted so much time and effort to keeping out of the presidency. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, 10 Jan. 2019 Old-schoolers would bray about Grier letting down his school, yadda, yadda, yadda. Jason Gay, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2018 Is there anything worse, anything less conducive to the enjoyment and understanding of the beautiful game, than a round table of former professionals braying platitudes at one another beneath the unforgiving lights of a TV studio? Giles Harvey, New York Times, 3 July 2018 See More

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

Word History


Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French braire to cry, bellow, roar, from Vulgar Latin *bragere, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish braigid he breaks wind

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French braier, breier, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German brehhan to break — more at break

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bray was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near bray

Cite this Entry

“Bray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to utter the loud harsh cry of a donkey
: to produce a sound like the call of a donkey
bray noun

Geographical Definition


geographical name

town and port on the Irish Sea in eastern Ireland population 25,101

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