Definition of pray in English:

pray

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Address a prayer to God or another deity.

    ‘the whole family are praying for Michael’
    • ‘Muslims also pray in mosques on Friday, their holy day of the week.’
    • ‘She was helped through her exams by knowing that her vicar was praying for her to succeed.’
    • ‘He would lie on the ground and gaze upward at the heavens and pray for deliverance.’
    • ‘And I started to pray out loud, and I just became immediately calm.’
    • ‘If that happens, please pray for my soul.’
    • ‘Churches were praying for the souls of the kids caught up in the glare of those flashing lights.’
    • ‘I am a devout Christian who prays every day.’
    • ‘Robert silently prayed to God, hoping that others were backing him up on this case.’
    • ‘We can discharge this obligation by simply praying for him as we pray for our dear ones and our own very selves.’
    • ‘I went to the local chapel, and prayed to the Almighty for help.’
    • ‘If you wish to have children, you pray to the fertility goddess.’
    • ‘I silently prayed to God for guidance as to what to do next.’
    • ‘He looked like a priest praying for strength.’
    • ‘But hundreds of people gathered outside to sing hymns and pray on his behalf.’
    • ‘Today, for instance, women not only pray at the mosque but also participate in social activities there.’
    • ‘The only explanation for this is a miracle from God, as we had been praying for her at church.’
    • ‘As well as this, consider getting involved in praying for the mission, or in helping out in a practical way.’
    • ‘People fervently pray, hoping to keep the calamities at bay.’
    • ‘So my advice is: pray more, sin less and live the life that God is calling you to live.’
    • ‘People pray to these deities because they have an adoration for the deity and have a feeling of awe about it.’
    say one's prayers, be at prayer, make one's devotions
    invoke, call on, implore, appeal to, entreat, beseech, beg, ask earnestly, request earnestly, plead, crave, petition, solicit, supplicate, importune
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Wish or hope strongly for a particular outcome or situation.
      ‘after several days of rain, we were praying for sun’
      with clause ‘I prayed that James wouldn't notice’
      • ‘Meg watched as twenty girls held their breaths, hoping and praying for their name to be called.’
      • ‘Nope, I don't expect or hope or even pray to accomplish anything even remotely useful.’
      • ‘I stand up on each tee and hope and pray that I find the fairway.’
      • ‘In the meantime, let's hope and pray for a safe and quiet election season.’
      • ‘Though obviously I hope and pray that this never happens.’
      • ‘And you know, when you go into it, you just hope and pray that your number won't come up.’
      • ‘Well, I just hope and pray we work in a bipartisan way and from the middle, but early indications are not so good.’
      • ‘And whatever happens, I just pray and hope that we will not have to go around crying and whatever.’
      • ‘I have to tell you, I can only hope and pray that I have a child as loving and as wonderful as you.’
      • ‘I consumed a truly scrumptious chilliburger and hoped, no prayed, that there would be a toilet or pub on the route.’
      • ‘It was one of those situations when you prayed that everything would be alright but feared what could happen.’
      • ‘In facing and planning for disasters, whether natural or man-made, we must do more than hope and pray for the best.’
      • ‘As all the children have started their exams we hope and pray for good results and the best of luck to each and all of them.’
      • ‘"It's got to the point where every weekend you just pray for rain.’
      • ‘We can only hope and pray that the line of Zambian football will roar again.’
      • ‘I hope and pray he will resist the pressures to idolize pop stars, Hollywood types, and athletes.’
      • ‘With the immediate talk of retaliation yesterday, I hope and pray that those in command consider their actions carefully.’
      • ‘I sincerely pray and hope that Britain does not pass this Bill.’
      • ‘I hope and pray that it will click at the box office and be a big hit.’
      • ‘Like Charlie, I hope and pray that everyone is able to get out there and vote.’

adverb

formal, archaic
  • 1Used as a preface to polite requests or instructions.

    ‘ladies and gentlemen, pray be seated’
    please, if you please, if you would be so good, if you wouldn't mind, have the goodness to, pray
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used as a way of adding ironic or sarcastic emphasis to a question.
      ‘and what, pray, was the purpose of that?’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘ask earnestly’): from Old French preier, from late Latin precare, alteration of Latin precari ‘entreat’.

Pronunciation

pray

/preɪ/