\ 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

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Mostly, just pray for better conditions next spring. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 6 May 2022 But in recent years, an increasing number of religious extremists have begun to quietly pray in violation of the rules, sometimes with Israeli police watching on. Ilan Ben Zion, ajc, 24 Apr. 2022 But the event for interested families that was sponsored by the library and the community center also attracted opponents, about 10 of whom showed up to pray with rosary beads. Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2022 Volunteers show up on weekends and weekdays alike to stock shelves, enter data, hand out cribs and car seats, listen to mothers and fathers baring their souls, and pray with those struggling to choose life. Patrick E. Kelly, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2022 Later this week, 100 Black pastors are expected to pray with Arbery's family outside the Glynn County courthouse, according to a tweet from Ben Crump. Editors, USA TODAY, 16 Nov. 2021 Texas says an inmate's spiritual adviser may pray with and counsel him until he is taken into the execution chamber and restrained on a gurney. The Associated. Press, Arkansas Online, 10 Nov. 2021 The boys were also waving down cars from the bus windows, and caught the attention of a pastor, who came on to pray with the panicking students. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, 26 Oct. 2021 By tradition, Orthodox worshipers pray for their patriarch at all services. New York Times, 18 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.

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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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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 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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