Definition of affray in English:



  • An instance of group fighting in a public place that disturbs the peace.

    ‘Lowe was charged with causing an affray’
    [mass noun] ‘a person guilty of affray’
    • ‘At a hearing earlier this month, the accused pleaded guilty to causing an affray during a fight in a pub in April.’
    • ‘Admitting affray and criminal damage, he was jailed for 14 months.’
    • ‘They all plead not guilty and also deny affray following a confrontation outside a nightclub before the attack.’
    • ‘His criminal record also includes armed robbery, affray, assault, theft and public order offences.’
    • ‘The plaintiff was the widow of a man killed in a criminal affray.’
    fight, brawl, battle, engagement, encounter, confrontation, melee, clash, skirmish, scuffle, tussle, fracas, altercation
    disturbance, commotion, breach of the peace, riot
    scrap, dust-up, punch-up, set-to, shindy, shindig, free-for-all
    View synonyms


Middle English (in the general sense ‘disturbance, fray’): from Anglo-Norman French afrayer disturb, startle, based on an element of Germanic origin related to Old English frithu ‘peace, safety’ (compare with German Friede peace).