bray 1[brey] ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. the loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
  2. any similar loud, harsh sound.

verb (used without object)

  1. to utter a loud and harsh cry, as a donkey.
  2. to make a loud, harsh, disagreeable sound.

verb (used with object)

  1. to utter with a loud, harsh sound, like a donkey.

Origin of bray 1 1250–1300; Middle English brayen Old French braire to cry out (cognate with Medieval Latin bragīre to neigh) Celtic; compare Old Irish braigid (he) breaks windCan be confusedbraid brayed bray 2[brey] verb (used with object)

  1. to pound or crush fine, as in a mortar.
  2. Printing. to thin (ink) on a slate before placing on the ink plate of a press.

Origin of bray 2 1350–1400; Middle English brayen Anglo-French bra(i)er, Old French broier Germanic; see break Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019 Related Words for braying yell, neigh, hee-haw Examples from the Web for braying Contemporary Examples of braying

  • Already, the conservative media is braying for their names and setting up justifications for identifying them.

    Don’t Out Cain’s Accusers

    Michelle Goldberg

    November 5, 2011

  • Palin is a beauty-queen Elmer Gantry, outdoing Stephen Colbert in cheesy, braying nationalism.

    Run, Sarah, Run!

    Michelle Goldberg

    July 23, 2009

  • She dispenses facts like a braying machine, bobble-nodding a head of hyper-lacquered hair.

    Thandie Nails Condi

    Patricia J. Williams

    October 21, 2008

  • Historical Examples of braying

  • Right at him came the donkey, braying as though in glee at the trick he had played.

    Frank Roscoe’s Secret

    Allen Chapman

  • I started off with braying horn, and at that I had to use caution.

    The Million-Dollar Suitcase

    Alice MacGowan

  • You’ve been braying in the dark about ‘See to-morrow morning!’

    The Nigger Of The “Narcissus”

    Joseph Conrad

  • I must fain eat and drink; let me at least refrain from braying.

    Paul Patoff

    F. Marion Crawford

  • Well, I am an animal that paints instead of cackling, or braying, or spinning lies.


    George Eliot

  • British Dictionary definitions for braying bray 1 verb

    1. (intr) (of a donkey) to utter its characteristic loud harsh sound; heehaw
    2. (intr) to make a similar sound, as in laughinghe brayed at the joke
    3. (tr) to utter with a loud harsh sound


    1. the loud harsh sound uttered by a donkey
    2. a similar loud cry or uproara bray of protest

    Derived Formsbrayer, nounWord Origin for bray C13: from Old French braire, probably of Celtic origin bray 2 verb

    1. (tr) to distribute (ink) over printing type or plates
    2. (tr) to pound into a powder, as in a mortar
    3. Northern English dialect to hit or beat (someone or something) hard; bang

    Derived Formsbrayer, nounWord Origin for bray C14: from Old French breier of Germanic origin; see break Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Word Origin and History for braying bray v.

    c.1300, from Old French braire “to cry,” from Gallo-Romance *bragire “to cry out,” perhaps from a Celtic source (cf. Gaelic braigh “to shriek, crackle”), probably imitative. Related: Brayed; braying.

    bray n.

    c.1300, from bray (v.).

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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