Main definitions of bray in English

: bray1bray2

bray1

noun

  • 1usually in singular The loud, harsh cry of a donkey or mule.

    • ‘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?’
    • ‘But the fox, hearing the donkey's voice, said, ‘If you want to terrify me, you'll have to disguise your bray.’’
    • ‘A horrible scream could be heard, a mix of a horse's angry bray, and a cat's yowl.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The donkey emitted a laugh-like bray.’
    • ‘I dismounted the donkey and it let out another loud bray.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 the cry of a donkey or mule.
      • ‘He let out a high-pitched bray, his signal that he felt threatened by this confrontation.’
      • ‘Max processed this for a moment, then let out a sharp, explosive bray of 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.’
      • ‘The latter, a boisterous Jersey boy, has a motor mouth and often punctuates his sentences with an infectious bray of loud laughter.’
      • ‘He had a bray of a laugh which he exercised at the most inappropriate times.’
      • ‘Tony slapped him on the back and let out a bray of laughter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dori's airhorn had a decidedly different tone than Devon's, and the resulting sound was a bray that was both loud and atonal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You had this bray you would let out sometimes - not a laugh or a shout, but more a hack of comedic anger.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Actually, he didn't, but my teeth were grinding so loudly I couldn't hear his nasal bray.’

verb

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tractor roared, the donkey brayed and the water thundered by - it was a diabolical din.’
    • ‘Donkeys brayed to one another across threshing floors of harvested wheat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The steed carrying it brayed, its coarse voice bellowing out like a foghorn.’
    • ‘He also looked on his donkey that brayed at his approach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The horse brayed softly and moved over to Katie, who was holding out a blade of grass for it to eat.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Public voices used to bray on about heroism and sacrifice.’
    • ‘The mules brayed in fear as the cart driver hauled back on the reigns, bringing the wagon to a shuddering halt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Donkeys brayed, and the pungent aroma from a nearby slaughterhouse wafted over the neighborhood.’
    • ‘They head out in the boat and Sancho starts crying after he hears his donkey braying plaintively.’
    • ‘Bobby brayed, louder this time, his voice slightly breaking from alcohol so that he sounded like a teenage boy overloaded with hormones.’
    • ‘They come upon the villagers from the town being taunted by donkey braying and find them readying themselves for battle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His mule brayed, as if the silence were oppressive.’
    • ‘At the edge of her mind, she heard a mule braying loudly, in fear.’
    • ‘At that moment, the donkey brayed loudly inside the stable.’
    • ‘Frenzied from all the drama, the savages in the audience brayed in a united, primitive chant.’
    • ‘As master and squire continue on, both the horse and donkey whinny and bray - which they both take as good omens.’
    • ‘And when he finally appeared, he blustered and brayed, losing none of the stonewalling qualities that had marked his time in politics.’
    • ‘Let the philistines bray: the Society of Student Artists knows how important it is to come to grips with the world of commerce.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rooster would have crowed, the donkey would have brayed.’
    • ‘Angels wouldn't be braying like donkeys because I died.’
    • ‘With one tight slap, Brenda made short work of my smirk, causing the foxes to snicker and bray among themselves.’
    • ‘It brayed loudly again, and scampered, frightened, into the woods.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm driving home in the miserable sleet, and the tune comes braying from my radio.’
    • ‘Andrew brayed with laughter and whacked Tony on the shoulder with enough force to knock a horse flat on its side.’
    • ‘We got our food and went on our way, ignoring our antagonist, who continued to bray behind us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The creature brayed, kicked out his heels, and set to grazing with ferocious concentration.’
    • ‘Yet what galls me is how the critics constantly bray on about how deep the movie is.’
    • ‘His smiles almost never touch his lips, except when he is braying with laughter or doing something much more intimate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The horse was braying, frightened, as it tried to back away from several men fighting.’
    • ‘In fact, people are already braying for a saviour.’
    • ‘She's braying at some clever comment he's made, and he's smiling through clenched teeth.’
    • ‘And then we heard them all night, braying like donkeys right under the house.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘As I trolled back and forth in the microfiche looking for the relevant piece, I was struck by the other things the chattering classes brayed five years ago.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Andrew brayed with laughter and whacked Tony on the shoulder with enough force to knock a horse flat on its side.’
      • ‘I'm driving home in the miserable sleet, and the tune comes braying from my radio.’
      • ‘Public voices used to bray on about heroism and sacrifice.’
      • ‘Routinely, she would bray out mindless questions in the middle of class in a grating manner.’
      • ‘And then if it does, I thought, I'm going to bray it.’
      • ‘With one tight slap, Brenda made short work of my smirk, causing the foxes to snicker and bray among themselves.’
      • ‘Frenzied from all the drama, the savages in the audience brayed in a united, primitive chant.’
      • ‘Today's newspapers are braying the inevitable bad news.’
      • ‘Mackenzie balled the note up, crushing it in her fist, as her face flamed and Amanda laughed, throwing her head back and braying her glee.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And when he finally appeared, he blustered and brayed, losing none of the stonewalling qualities that had marked his time in politics.’
      • ‘‘Yeah I'm talking to you,’ he said, his voice and his face braying the annoyance he felt towards the girl.’
      • ‘His smiles almost never touch his lips, except when he is braying with laughter or doing something much more intimate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We got our food and went on our way, ignoring our antagonist, who continued to bray behind us.’
      • ‘Bobby brayed, louder this time, his voice slightly breaking from alcohol so that he sounded like a teenage boy overloaded with hormones.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, she was braying this information with a particularly foghorn-like voice so I was wide awake.’
      • ‘Instead of one strong voice braying the truth about the business of baseball, let there be dozens.’
      • ‘She's braying at some clever comment he's made, and he's smiling through clenched teeth.’
      • ‘Our only company were the punters juddering past, recounting anonymous pulls or braying their thoughts on ‘Is No Ism The New Ism?’’
      • ‘Yet the ruling has ignited a nationwide furor, with congressmen and television ‘personalities’ tripping over each other to be the loudest in braying out their protest against the court's action.’
      • ‘US spokespersons brayed that African leaders were letting their people starve.’
      • ‘In fact, people are already braying for a saviour.’
      • ‘Let the philistines bray: the Society of Student Artists knows how important it is to come to grips with the world of commerce.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet what galls me is how the critics constantly bray on about how deep the movie is.’
      • ‘Their voices are powerful and exaggerated, bellowing and braying their often nonsensical lines.’
      • ‘All the major chin-pullers will be thrashing the obvious, and I try not to be just another voice braying the company line.’
      • ‘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.’
      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//brā/

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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was like that: he'd just bray somebody for no reason.’
    • ‘The dust is then sifted, the residue is brayed again; refractory stalks are burned to ashes, and this is mixed with the snuff.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The next thing I saw was two lads being brayed.’’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

bray

/brā//breɪ/