\ 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 Some investors pray to their god for financial success. James Mackintosh, WSJ, 14 June 2022 Hold it about two inches away from your armpit and pray for two seconds to cover the skin in product. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 June 2022 But with no quick fix, there's little consumers can do other than buckle up and pray for good weather. Allison Morrow, CNN, 31 May 2022 In this moment, in Buffalo, hundreds of congregants dressed in Celestine Chaney’s favorite pink extended their right hands to pray for her son, who would shepherd his family forward. New York Times, 28 May 2022 Evelyn Hawk played the piano and her husband was a prayer warrior always willing to pray for those who were ill or just needed to hear the Lord’s word. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 13 Apr. 2022 Shamina Hussain told the queen that 500 friends and family around the world dialed in to one conference call to pray for her husband. Danica Kirka, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2022 Community members pray together at a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Rob Elementary School on May 25, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 26 May 2022 India’s Supreme Court later overturned that judgment and allowed Muslims to pray in the mosque. Sheikh Saaliq And Krutika Pathi, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 May 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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Time Traveler for pray

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

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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