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

  • n. A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
  • n. The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
  • n. An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving: One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
  • n. A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
  • n. A religious observance in which praying predominates: morning prayers.
  • n. A fervent request: Her prayer for rain was granted at last.
  • n. The thing requested: His safe arrival was their only prayer.
  • n. The slightest chance or hope: In a storm the mountain climbers won't have a prayer.
  • n. Law The request of a complainant, as stated in a complaint or in equity, that the court grant the aid or relief solicited.
  • n. Law The section of the complaint or bill that contains this request.
  • n. One who prays.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A practice of communicating with one's God.
  • n. The act of praying.
  • n. The specific words or methods used for praying.
  • n. A meeting held for the express purpose of praying.
  • n. A request; a petition.
  • n. One who prays.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who prays; a supplicant.
  • n. The act of praying, or of asking a favor; earnest request or entreaty; hence, a petition or memorial addressed to a court or a legislative body.
  • n. The act of addressing supplication to a divinity, especially to the true God; the offering of adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving to the Supreme Being
  • n. The form of words used in praying; a formula of supplication; an expressed petition; especially, a supplication addressed to God

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of beseeching, entreating, or supplicating; supplication; entreaty; petition; suit.
  • n. In religious usage, a devout petition to an object of worship, as God, or a saint or an angel; an orison: confined in Protestant usage to such petitions addressed to God; more generally, any spiritual communion with God, including confession, petition, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. See dulia.
  • n. The practice of praying, or of communing with God.
  • n. The form of words used in praying; a formula of worship: as, the Lord's Prayer.
  • n. A form of religious service; a religious observance, either public or private, consisting mainly of prayer to God; a liturgy: often in the plural: as, the service of morning prayer; family prayers.
  • n. That part of a memorial or petition to a public body, or of a bill of complaint in equity, which specifies the thing desired to be done or granted, as distinct from the recital of facts or reasons for the grant.
  • n. See the qualifying words.
  • n. One who prays; a suppliant; a petitioner.

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

  • n. a fixed text used in praying
  • n. someone who prays to God
  • n. earnest or urgent request
  • n. the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving)
  • n. reverent petition to a deity


Middle English preiere, from Old French, from Medieval Latin precāria, from feminine of Latin precārius, obtained by entreaty, from precārī, to entreat; see pray.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English preiere, from Anglo-Norman preiere, from Old French priere, proiere, from Medieval Latin or Late Latin precāria, feminine of Latin precārius ("obtained by entreaty"), from precor ("beg, entreat"). (Wiktionary)
to pray + -er. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "And by prayer, I don't mean shouting, mumbling, and wallowing like a hog in religious sentiment. Prayer is only another name for good, clean, direct thinking. When you pray, think. Think well what you're saying. Make your thoughts into things that are solid. In that way, your prayer will have strength, and that strength will become a part of you, body, mind, and spirit."
    How Green Was My Valley

    March 11, 2013

  • 'May you do for La Hire what you would like La Hire to do for you, if you were La Hire and La Hire were God.' -famous prayer of Etienne do Vignolles, commonly called La Hire, mercenary and soldier of Joan of Arc.

    February 19, 2008