Definition of pray in English:

pray

verb

[no object]
  • 1Address a prayer to God or another deity.

    ‘the whole family are praying for Michael’
    • ‘Churches were praying for the souls of the kids caught up in the glare of those flashing lights.’
    • ‘I silently prayed to God for guidance as to what to do next.’
    • ‘I am a devout Christian who prays every day.’
    • ‘The only explanation for this is a miracle from God, as we had been praying for her at church.’
    • ‘So my advice is: pray more, sin less and live the life that God is calling you to live.’
    • ‘He looked like a priest praying for strength.’
    • ‘Muslims also pray in mosques on Friday, their holy day of the week.’
    • ‘We can discharge this obligation by simply praying for him as we pray for our dear ones and our own very selves.’
    • ‘She was helped through her exams by knowing that her vicar was praying for her to succeed.’
    • ‘Robert silently prayed to God, hoping that others were backing him up on this case.’
    • ‘As well as this, consider getting involved in praying for the mission, or in helping out in a practical way.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And I started to pray out loud, and I just became immediately calm.’
    • ‘People fervently pray, hoping to keep the calamities at bay.’
    • ‘If that happens, please pray for my soul.’
    • ‘People pray to these deities because they have an adoration for the deity and have a feeling of awe about it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He would lie on the ground and gaze upward at the heavens and pray for deliverance.’
    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’
      • ‘It was one of those situations when you prayed that everything would be alright but feared what could happen.’
      • ‘I consumed a truly scrumptious chilliburger and hoped, no prayed, that there would be a toilet or pub on the route.’
      • ‘Though obviously I hope and pray that this never happens.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And you know, when you go into it, you just hope and pray that your number won't come up.’
      • ‘In the meantime, let's hope and pray for a safe and quiet election season.’
      • ‘I stand up on each tee and hope and pray that I find the fairway.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Meg watched as twenty girls held their breaths, hoping and praying for their name to be called.’
      • ‘Like Charlie, I hope and pray that everyone is able to get out there and vote.’
      • ‘With the immediate talk of retaliation yesterday, I hope and pray that those in command consider their actions carefully.’
      • ‘Well, I just hope and pray we work in a bipartisan way and from the middle, but early indications are not so good.’
      • ‘I hope and pray he will resist the pressures to idolize pop stars, Hollywood types, and athletes.’
      • ‘I have to tell you, I can only hope and pray that I have a child as loving and as wonderful as you.’
      • ‘We can only hope and pray that the line of Zambian football will roar again.’
      • ‘Nope, I don't expect or hope or even pray to accomplish anything even remotely useful.’
      • ‘And whatever happens, I just pray and hope that we will not have to go around crying and whatever.’
      • ‘"It's got to the point where every weekend you just pray for rain.’
      • ‘In facing and planning for disasters, whether natural or man-made, we must do more than hope and pray for the best.’

adverb

archaic, formal
  • 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/