Word of the Day Archive
Sunday July 5, 2009
A tumultuous assault or quarrel; a brawl.
Mounted encounters by armored knights locked in desperate hand-to-hand combat, stabbing and wrestling in tavern brawls, deceits and brutalities in street affrays, balletic homicide on the dueling field--these were the martial arts of Renaissance Europe.
-- Sydney Anglo, The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe
An Irish soldier was stabbed with a boar spear by a German mercenary in 1544 during an affray that followed Henry VIII's capture of Boulogne.
-- James Williams, "Hunting, hawking and the early Tudor gentleman", History Today, August 2003
Affray comes from Old French esfrei, from esfreer, "to disquiet, to frighten."