Main definitions of bray in English

: bray1bray2

bray1

noun

  • 1The loud, harsh cry of a donkey or mule:

    ‘the mule uttered its insane bray’
    • ‘I dismounted the donkey and it let out another loud bray.’
    • ‘Rippling amongst the voices were the sounds of horses and dogs and the occasional bray of a donkey, the clank and scrape of metal, the clang of forges working hard to repair damages and the low, mellow crackle of fires.’
    • ‘Gayson let out a cry that sounded like a mix of donkey bray and parrot squawk.’
    • ‘As we pulled away, Harvest House's lone mule let out a raucous bray and a light wind blew a stream of dried leaves in our path.’
    • ‘The donkey emitted a laugh-like bray.’
    • ‘But the fox, hearing the donkey's voice, said, ‘If you want to terrify me, you'll have to disguise your bray.’’
    • ‘No worse by day than the lusty priming of a neglected hand pump, at night the donkey's bray assumes the apocalyptic aural agony of hell's rusted gates being effortfully forced ajar.’
    • ‘These characterful creatures, with their rasping Ee-aw bray, are known to make excellent stable companions for horses, foals, or other donkeys.’
    • ‘Klessa's voice sounded like a donkey's bray next to the voice of the elf, and that as well as the words she said snapped Rilleta out of her dreamy mood.’
    • ‘A horrible scream could be heard, a mix of a horse's angry bray, and a cat's yowl.’
    • ‘They take notice of nothing in the world, only they seem to see and smell victuals, at the approach of which they will gape, and be very restless, and make something of a bray.’
    • ‘Ghoma barked out a laugh that sounded very much like a goat's bray.’
    • ‘Is there a human voice, a voice that is the voice of man as the chirp is the voice of the cricket or the bray is the voice of the donkey?’
    • ‘Their typical call is a commingled bray and bleat, followed by a snorted inhale sounding like an oak dining table being dragged across a hardwood floor.’
    1. 1.1 A sound, voice, or laugh resembling a bray:
      ‘he recognized the loud bray of the doctor’
      • ‘Tony slapped him on the back and let out a bray of laughter.’
      • ‘Actually, he didn't, but my teeth were grinding so loudly I couldn't hear his nasal bray.’
      • ‘He will squint at the Tories sardined into the benches opposite, put his thumb to his nose, wiggle his fingers and, with a schoolboy bray, say: ‘Na-na-na-na-naaa’.’
      • ‘She sat on the bed and watched Cassandra dance around the room, making some strange sound that was between a squawk and a bray of some sort.’
      • ‘Dori's airhorn had a decidedly different tone than Devon's, and the resulting sound was a bray that was both loud and atonal.’
      • ‘He let out a high-pitched bray, his signal that he felt threatened by this confrontation.’
      • ‘The latter, a boisterous Jersey boy, has a motor mouth and often punctuates his sentences with an infectious bray of loud laughter.’
      • ‘I walked away, and as I stopped to rest the book on a shelf and sign it, I heard the manager and stockboy laugh, a brief explosive bray that just might have been at my expense.’
      • ‘You had this bray you would let out sometimes - not a laugh or a shout, but more a hack of comedic anger.’
      • ‘It wants to stand as a sweeping spectacle of one of the darkest chapters in our young nation's history, but it only wants to accomplish it with words, not deeds, bombastic brays from bearded windy windbags, not gripping historical drama.’
      • ‘He had a bray of a laugh which he exercised at the most inappropriate times.’
      • ‘Max processed this for a moment, then let out a sharp, explosive bray of laughter.’
      • ‘The cool air as it rises and the welcoming bray of the tugboats passing reassure us that life on the river is as continuous as the days and nights that pull it along from mountain stream to flat delta shelves.’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 (of a donkey or mule) utter a bray:

    ‘the donkey brayed and kicked’
    • ‘He also looked on his donkey that brayed at his approach.’
    • ‘The mules brayed in fear as the cart driver hauled back on the reigns, bringing the wagon to a shuddering halt.’
    • ‘Donkeys brayed to one another across threshing floors of harvested wheat.’
    • ‘At the edge of her mind, she heard a mule braying loudly, in fear.’
    • ‘The horse brayed softly and moved over to Katie, who was holding out a blade of grass for it to eat.’
    • ‘It has four legs, it has a tail, and it is braying, its hoofs are sounding like donkey hooves but it cannot be a donkey for it is dragging a chain.’
    • ‘The tractor roared, the donkey brayed and the water thundered by - it was a diabolical din.’
    • ‘The creature brayed, kicked out his heels, and set to grazing with ferocious concentration.’
    • ‘As might be expected, some people abused this system and reported the nosy neighbor (with the loud goat who brayed at 3 AM) as a heretic, just to try and get rid of them.’
    • ‘And then we heard them all night, braying like donkeys right under the house.’
    • ‘Donkeys brayed, and the pungent aroma from a nearby slaughterhouse wafted over the neighborhood.’
    • ‘They come upon the villagers from the town being taunted by donkey braying and find them readying themselves for battle.’
    • ‘His mule brayed, as if the silence were oppressive.’
    • ‘It brayed loudly again, and scampered, frightened, into the woods.’
    • ‘At that moment, the donkey brayed loudly inside the stable.’
    • ‘Astley recorded the pastoral sounds of an Oxfordshire Sunday in summer - birds singing, bells ringing, donkeys braying, gates creaking - to accompany her piano-and-flute soundtrack of a day's journey into night.’
    • ‘A tiny spark jumped from the mage's finger to the flank of the donkey pulling it, and it brayed a complaint as it headed for the gate at an awkward trot.’
    • ‘The bazaar brims with the smells and sounds of bustling peasants, braying livestock, simmering foods, traveling musicians and merchants boldly declaring their wares.’
    • ‘One of the articles deals with social life of some species such as pigeons and spiders, while another talks of why donkeys bray.’
    • ‘Angels wouldn't be braying like donkeys because I died.’
    • ‘As master and squire continue on, both the horse and donkey whinny and bray - which they both take as good omens.’
    • ‘They head out in the boat and Sancho starts crying after he hears his donkey braying plaintively.’
    • ‘The steed carrying it brayed, its coarse voice bellowing out like a foghorn.’
    • ‘The rooster would have crowed, the donkey would have brayed.’
    • ‘The horse was braying, frightened, as it tried to back away from several men fighting.’
    • ‘Somewhere out there in the dazzlement, the mule brayed a few times, then went silent.’
    neigh, whinny, hee-haw
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) speak or laugh loudly and harshly:
      ‘he brayed with laughter’
      [with direct speech] ‘‘Leave!’ brayed a voice behind her’
      • ‘She's braying at some clever comment he's made, and he's smiling through clenched teeth.’
      • ‘Frenzied from all the drama, the savages in the audience brayed in a united, primitive chant.’
      • ‘His smiles almost never touch his lips, except when he is braying with laughter or doing something much more intimate.’
      • ‘Bobby brayed, louder this time, his voice slightly breaking from alcohol so that he sounded like a teenage boy overloaded with hormones.’
      • ‘Yet what galls me is how the critics constantly bray on about how deep the movie is.’
      • ‘And when he finally appeared, he blustered and brayed, losing none of the stonewalling qualities that had marked his time in politics.’
      • ‘I'm driving home in the miserable sleet, and the tune comes braying from my radio.’
      • ‘It's as if someone's taken all the worst parts of every London venue, added in the usual freeloaders braying in your ear while the band are playing, and stuck them in an all-new, shiny place just to ruin any gig you fancy going to.’
      • ‘These leaders of industry and commerce continue to issue statements of concern, pout, slap their chests, and bray loudly about their concerns of the administration's inability to arrest the growing crime situation.’
      • ‘In fact, people are already braying for a saviour.’
      • ‘One time someone arrived in the building and was brought in for an important meeting with Scott, who at that exact moment was braying at the top of his lungs like a mule.’
      • ‘Expensively tanned retirees brayed across the foyer of Perth's ice-rink to people they hadn't seen since before last year's Med cruise.’
      • ‘Fired by much wine and a weariness with the visitor's braying, these words (or something very much like them) tumbled unbidden from the Professor's lips.’
      • ‘Andrew brayed with laughter and whacked Tony on the shoulder with enough force to knock a horse flat on its side.’
      • ‘With one tight slap, Brenda made short work of my smirk, causing the foxes to snicker and bray among themselves.’
      • ‘I didn't get two seconds within three blocks of Gallagher Park this year, rushing to meet an easy assignment, before some dinosaur started braying at me about not stopping at a checkpoint.’
      • ‘Public voices used to bray on about heroism and sacrifice.’
      • ‘Let the philistines bray: the Society of Student Artists knows how important it is to come to grips with the world of commerce.’
      • ‘We got our food and went on our way, ignoring our antagonist, who continued to bray behind us.’
      • ‘I say to the member who, as usual, brays in the middle of the answer to his own question, that getting to the bottom of the issue created by himself is not something that anybody else cares about in this House.’
      roar, bellow, trumpet
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French brait a shriek, braire to cry (the original senses in English), perhaps ultimately of Celtic origin.

Pronunciation

bray

/breɪ/

Main definitions of bray in English

: bray1bray2

bray2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Pound or crush (something) to small pieces, typically with a pestle and mortar:

    ‘the kernels of this fruit the Arabs bray in a mortar’
    • ‘He was like that: he'd just bray somebody for no reason.’
    • ‘J. J. shared Montaigne’s antipathy to physic and physicians, and the idea of his beloved plants being brayed in a mortar with a pestle and transformed into pills, plasters, and ointment revolted his romantic soul.’
    • ‘The dust is then sifted, the residue is brayed again; refractory stalks are burned to ashes, and this is mixed with the snuff.’
    • ‘He was to be brayed in a mortar among wheat with a pestle - pretty hard dealing that, and yet his folly would not depart from him.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The next thing I saw was two lads being brayed.’’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French breier, of Germanic origin; related to break.

Pronunciation

bray

/breɪ/