Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To utter the loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
  • intransitive v. To sound loudly and harshly: The foghorn brayed all night.
  • transitive v. To emit (an utterance or a sound) loudly and harshly.
  • n. The loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
  • n. A sound resembling that of a donkey: "an endless bray of pointless jocosity” ( Louis Auchincloss).
  • transitive v. To crush and pound to a fine consistency, as in a mortar.
  • transitive v. To spread (ink) thinly over a surface.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Of a donkey, to make its cry.
  • v. Of a camel, to make its cry
  • n. The cry of an ass or donkey.
  • n. The cry of a camel
  • v. To crush or pound, especially with a mortar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The harsh cry of an ass; also, any harsh, grating, or discordant sound.
  • n. A bank; the slope of a hill; a hill. See brae, which is now the usual spelling.
  • intransitive v. To utter a loud, harsh cry, as an ass.
  • intransitive v. To make a harsh, grating, or discordant noise.
  • transitive v. To pound, beat, rub, or grind small or fine.
  • transitive v. To make or utter with a loud, discordant, or harsh and grating sound.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pound or beat thoroughly, as with a pestle or other instrument; triturate, crush, mix, etc., by beating or any analogous action: as to bray drugs; to bray printers' ink. See brayer.
  • To utter a loud and harsh cry: with reference now especially to the ass, but formerly also to the bull, deer, and other animals, as well as to man.
  • Hence To make a loud, harsh, disagreeable sound.
  • To utter with a loud, harsh sound, like the ass.
  • In cloth-finishing, to pound (woolen cloth) in a soapy scouring-liquor: same as full. See full and fulling.
  • n. A harsh cry, especially that of an ass; hence, any similar harsh or grating sound.
  • n. A bank or mound of earth used in fortification; a breastwork; a bulwark; specifically, a wall or other work in advance of and covering the gate of a fortress.
  • n. A piece of sloping ground; an acclivity or declivity.
  • n. A clout for a young child. Kersey, 1708.
  • n. In heraldry: Barnacles or twitchers for subduring a horse: used as a bearing.
  • n. [Perhaps a corruption of brake, break.] A bearing similar to the preceding in form, representing a tool used for breaking hemp: sometimes called a hempbray, hemp-brake, or hackle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. braying characteristic of donkeys
  • v. laugh loudly and harshly
  • v. reduce to small pieces or particles by pounding or abrading
  • n. the cry of an ass

Etymologies

Middle English braien, from Old French braire, from Vulgar Latin *bragere, of Celtic origin.
Middle English braien, from Old French breier, of Germanic origin; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French braire, from Vulgar Latin bragire, from Gaulish *bragu (compare Middle Irish braigid ("it crashes, explodes"), Breton breugiñ ("to bray"); akin to English break, Latin fragor ("crash"), frangere ("to break")). (Wiktionary)
From Old French breier (Modern French broyer). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • There's also the sense of "to crush or grind fine," or "to spread thin" -- see Merriam-Webster

    December 2, 2008

  • Very good, whichbe.

    See also rebray.

    October 9, 2008

  • We need to bray just to make it today.

    October 9, 2008

  • "A neighbor who Nasruddin didn't like very much came over to his compound one day. The neighbor asked Nasruddin if he could borrow his donkey. Nasruddin not wanting to lend his donkey to the neighbor he didn't like told him, 'I would love to loan you my donkey but only yesterday my brother came from the next town to use it to carry his wheat to the mill to be ground. The donkey sadly is not here.'

    The neighbor was disappointed. But he thanked Nasruddin and began to walk away. Just as he got a few steps away, Mullah Nasruddin's donkey, which was in the back of his compound all the time, let out a big bray.

    The neighbor turned to Nasruddin and said, 'Mullah Sahib, I thought you told me that your donkey was not here.' Mullah Nasruddin turned to the neighbor and said, 'My friend, who are you going to believe? Me or the donkey?'"

    - traditional.

    January 1, 2008