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bray1

[brey] /breɪ/
noun
1.
the loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
2.
any similar loud, harsh sound.
verb (used without object)
3.
to utter a loud and harsh cry, as a donkey.
4.
to make a loud, harsh, disagreeable sound.
verb (used with object)
5.
to utter with a loud, harsh sound, like a donkey.
Origin of bray1
1250-1300
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 wind
Can be confused
braid, brayed.

bray2

[brey] /breɪ/
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
1350-1400; Middle English brayen < Anglo-French bra(i)er, Old French broier < Germanic; see break
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bray
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cyrus Pritchett only glowered on the bray girls when he looked at them at all.

    The Girls of Hillcrest Farm Amy Bell Marlowe
  • "I guess you'll not bray now," he remarked as he cut the rope.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • It appears that when an ass wants to bray he elevates his tail, and, if his tail be weighted down, he has not the heart to bray.

    The Art of Travel Francis Galton
  • You may hear their bray in every café, and France is going to the devil.

    Dross Henry Seton Merriman
  • Mrs. bray crossed the room, touching with her foot the bank-bills, as if they were of no account to her.

    Cast Adrift T. S. Arthur
British Dictionary definitions for bray

bray1

/breɪ/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of a donkey) to utter its characteristic loud harsh sound; heehaw
2.
(intransitive) to make a similar sound, as in laughing: he brayed at the joke
3.
(transitive) to utter with a loud harsh sound
noun
4.
the loud harsh sound uttered by a donkey
5.
a similar loud cry or uproar: a bray of protest
Derived Forms
brayer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French braire, probably of Celtic origin

bray2

/breɪ/
verb
1.
(transitive) to distribute (ink) over printing type or plates
2.
(transitive) to pound into a powder, as in a mortar
3.
(Northern English, dialect) to hit or beat (someone or something) hard; bang
Derived Forms
brayer, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for 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.

n.

c.1300, from bray (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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