Definition of pray in English:

pray

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship.

    ‘the whole family is praying for Michael’
    with object ‘pray God this is true’
    • ‘He would lie on the ground and gaze upward at the heavens and pray for deliverance.’
    • ‘People fervently pray, hoping to keep the calamities at bay.’
    • ‘And I started to pray out loud, and I just became immediately calm.’
    • ‘Robert silently prayed to God, hoping that others were backing him up on this case.’
    • ‘She was helped through her exams by knowing that her vicar was praying for her to succeed.’
    • ‘If that happens, please pray for my soul.’
    • ‘Muslims also pray in mosques on Friday, their holy day of the week.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As well as this, consider getting involved in praying for the mission, or in helping out in a practical way.’
    • ‘Churches were praying for the souls of the kids caught up in the glare of those flashing lights.’
    • ‘People pray to these deities because they have an adoration for the deity and have a feeling of awe about it.’
    • ‘Today, for instance, women not only pray at the mosque but also participate in social activities there.’
    • ‘But hundreds of people gathered outside to sing hymns and pray on his behalf.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We can discharge this obligation by simply praying for him as we pray for our dear ones and our own very selves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I went to the local chapel, and prayed to the Almighty for help.’
    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’
      • ‘I hope and pray he will resist the pressures to idolize pop stars, Hollywood types, and athletes.’
      • ‘I hope and pray that it will click at the box office and be a big hit.’
      • ‘I stand up on each tee and hope and pray that I find the fairway.’
      • ‘I sincerely pray and hope that Britain does not pass this Bill.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nope, I don't expect or hope or even pray to accomplish anything even remotely useful.’
      • ‘We can only hope and pray that the line of Zambian football will roar again.’
      • ‘With the immediate talk of retaliation yesterday, I hope and pray that those in command consider their actions carefully.’
      • ‘I consumed a truly scrumptious chilliburger and hoped, no prayed, that there would be a toilet or pub on the route.’
      • ‘In the meantime, let's hope and pray for a safe and quiet election season.’
      • ‘Meg watched as twenty girls held their breaths, hoping and praying for their name to be called.’
      • ‘I have to tell you, I can only hope and pray that I have a child as loving and as wonderful as you.’
      • ‘It was one of those situations when you prayed that everything would be alright but feared what could happen.’
      • ‘And whatever happens, I just pray and hope that we will not have to go around crying and whatever.’
      • ‘Though obviously I hope and pray that this never happens.’
      • ‘Like Charlie, I hope and pray that everyone is able to get out there and vote.’
      • ‘"It's got to the point where every weekend you just pray for rain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In facing and planning for disasters, whether natural or man-made, we must do more than hope and pray for the best.’

adverb

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

    ‘pray continue’
    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

/prā//preɪ/