\ 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 Francis had no official events scheduled Sunday, giving him time to rest before his meeting Monday with survivors near the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis, where he is expected to pray at a cemetery and apologize. Nicole Winfield,, 24 July 2022 People pray at a the site where Shinzo Abe was shot earlier today during an election campaign. Arata Yamamoto, NBC News, 8 July 2022 Perhaps this is the issue; our leaders pray, overwhelmed by a conviction that there is nothing else to do, when there is so much yet to be done. WSJ, 6 June 2022 Francis is set to meet with residential school survivors on Monday near the site of a former residential school in Maskwacis in central Alberta, where he is expected to pray and deliver an apology. Deena Zaru, ABC News, 25 July 2022 People pray and pay their respects at a makeshift memorial where the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed. Rhoda Kwan, NBC News, 9 July 2022 People pray to the soldiers with pierogis and bring it to them. Alysha Witwicki, Journal Sentinel, 28 June 2022 The ad opens with white hooded figures holding a bat and menacing through a yard, while Davison casually sips on an American flag mug before folding his hands to pray. Aubrie Spady, Fox News, 6 July 2022 Inside, the mothers sat in the first row while the priest asked those gathered to pray. Christopher Sherman,, 1 July 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

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 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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