\ ˈprā How to pronounce pray (audio) \
prayed; praying; prays

Definition of pray

transitive verb

1 : entreat, implore often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea pray be careful
2 : to get or bring by praying

intransitive verb

1 : to make a request in a humble manner
2 : to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving

Examples of pray in a Sentence

There's little else to do now but hope and pray. The minister said, “Let us pray.” He prayed that they would have the strength to go on. He prayed that he would find a parking spot.
Recent Examples on the Web By tradition, Orthodox worshipers pray for their patriarch at all services. New York Times, 18 Apr. 2022 For people from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, the new year marks an opportunity to gather, pray for their ancestors, receive blessings, and start the year fresh, said 23-year-old Anita Phomma. oregonlive, 16 Apr. 2022 Maryna Kapovska and her sister, Polina Olson, pray for their parents, who stayed in Kyiv even after the conflict had begun. NBC News, 27 Feb. 2022 The Columbus show includes the original 1851 painting that inspired the engraving, in which Christ sits enthroned on a cloud, surrounded by suffering worshippers who pray for healing. Steven Litt, cleveland, 19 Dec. 2021 Texas prison officials agreed to Buntion’s request to allow his spiritual adviser to pray aloud and touch him while he was put to death. Juan A. Lozano And Michael Graczyk, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 Tens of thousands of Muslims are expected to pray at the site later Friday for weekly prayers. Fox News, 22 Apr. 2022 Please continue to pray the Lord would grant me the words and wisdom on how to talk to my babies about how our lives have been completely changed. Creg Stephenson |, al, 13 Apr. 2022 In addition to fasting, Muslims also pray and recite the Quran during Ramadan. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of pray

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for pray

Middle English, from Anglo-French prier, praer, preier, from Latin precari, from prec-, prex request, prayer; akin to Old High German frāga question, frāgēn to ask, Sanskrit pṛcchati he asks

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The first known use of pray was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pray


\ ˈprā How to pronounce pray (audio) \
prayed; praying

Kids Definition of pray

1 : to speak to God especially to give thanks or ask for something
2 : to hope or wish very much for I prayed no one would forget.
3 : to ask earnestly : beg Do not leave, I pray you.


transitive verb

Legal Definition of pray

: to ask for plaintiff prays judgment against the defendants used especially in pleadings

intransitive verb

: to make a request of a court especially in a complaint or petition complainant prays for declaratory relief

More from Merriam-Webster on pray

Nglish: Translation of pray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pray for Arabic Speakers


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