a public fight; a noisy quarrel; brawl.
Law. the fighting of two or more persons in a public place.
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to frighten.

1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French afray (noun), afrayer (v.), Old French esfrei (noun), esfreer (v.) < Vulgar Latin *exfridāre to break the peace, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -frid- peace (< Germanic; compare German Friede) + -āre infinitive suffix

1. row, fracas, altercation, melee. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
affray (əˈfreɪ)
1.  law a fight, noisy quarrel, or disturbance between two or more persons in a public place
2.  archaic (tr) to frighten
[C14: via Old French from Vulgar Latin exfridāre (unattested) to break the peace; compare German Friede peace]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "state of alarm produced by a sudden disturbance," from O.Fr. effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from Gallo-Romance *exfridare, lit. "to take out of peace," from L. ex- "out of" + Frankish *frithu "peace," from P.Gmc. *frithuz "consideration, forbearance," from PIE base *pri- "to be friendly,
love" (cf. O.C.S. prijati "to aid, help," Skt. prija- "beloved;" see free). Meaning "breach of the peace, riotous fight in public" is from late 15c. Related verb afrey (early 14c.) survives almost exclusively in its pp., afraid (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The shop has the atmosphere of an interspecies affray waiting to happen: the noise and the pong.
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