from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To crush and pound to a fine consistency, as in a mortar.
  • transitive verb To spread (ink) thinly over a surface.
  • intransitive verb To utter the loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
  • intransitive verb To sound loudly and harshly.
  • intransitive verb To emit (an utterance or a sound) loudly and harshly.
  • noun The loud, harsh cry of a donkey.
  • noun A sound resembling that of a donkey.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A harsh cry, especially that of an ass; hence, any similar harsh or grating sound.
  • noun A piece of sloping ground; an acclivity or declivity.
  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.
  • noun A clout for a young child. Kersey, 1708.
  • noun In heraldry: Barnacles or twitchers for subduring a horse: used as a bearing.
  • noun [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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English braien, from Old French breier, of Germanic origin; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English braien, from Old French braire, from Vulgar Latin *bragere, of Celtic origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French breier (Modern French broyer).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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")).


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  • "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

  • We need to bray just to make it today.

    October 9, 2008

  • Very good, whichbe.

    See also rebray.

    October 9, 2008

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

    December 2, 2008