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’
    • ‘They all plead not guilty and also deny affray following a confrontation outside a nightclub before the attack.’
    • ‘At a hearing earlier this month, the accused pleaded guilty to causing an affray during a fight in a pub in April.’
    • ‘The plaintiff was the widow of a man killed in a criminal affray.’
    • ‘Admitting affray and criminal damage, he was jailed for 14 months.’
    • ‘His criminal record also includes armed robbery, affray, assault, theft and public order offences.’
    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).