\ 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 pleapray 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Community members gathered to pray for the little girl at Trinity Baptist Church Tuesday night. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, "Search intensifies for missing 6-year-old in South Carolina: 'I'm going crazy not knowing'," 12 Feb. 2020 The kindhearted, Irish maid asks if Miss Dickinson wants to pray with her. Kristin Vartan,, "The Dickinson recap binge guide: Episodes 1-10," 11 Nov. 2019 Our Lady Queen of Angels parishioners prayed a rosary for the lives lost on Monday. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Kobe and Gianna Bryant went to church before fatal crash," 28 Jan. 2020 The congregation prayed for the health of their island home, and for the health of the community here. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change," 10 Jan. 2020 During a deaf worship service, praying happens with open eyes and with lots of signing. Jana Bennett, The Conversation, "Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are," 26 Dec. 2019 There are a number of partial solutions: Seal all the wood on your stock, especially end grain, and then pray a lot. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "How to Weatherproof Your Rifle," 24 Dec. 2019 January 1950: Gopal Singh Visharad, the first plaintiff, files a civil suit in the Faizabad court in Uttar Pradesh, praying that the mosque’s premises be unlocked for worship of the idols. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A timeline of a land dispute that has ripped India’s heart apart over seven decades," 9 Nov. 2019 Also, couldn’t hurt to pray for high winds and abnormal cold. Sam Farmerstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "AFC championship game prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tennessee Titans," 19 Jan. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for pray

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pray

Last Updated

21 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pray


How to pronounce pray (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pray

: to speak to God especially in order to give thanks or to ask for something
: to hope or wish very much for something to happen
old-fashioned : to seriously ask (someone) to do something


\ 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.

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pray

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pray

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pray

Spanish Central: Translation of pray

Nglish: Translation of pray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pray for Arabic Speakers

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