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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-frey] /əˈfreɪ/
a public fight; a noisy quarrel; brawl.
Law. the fighting of two or more persons in a public place.
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to frighten.
Origin of affray
1275-1325; Middle English < Anglo-French afray (noun), afrayer (v.), Old French esfrei (noun), esfreer (v.) < Vulgar Latin *exfridāre to break the peace, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + -frid- peace (< Germanic; compare German Friede) + -āre infinitive suffix
1. row, fracas, altercation, melee. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for affray
Historical Examples
  • I remember that the valiant Marino Contarino died in this affray; and, with immortal example, the four brothers Cornaro; alas!

    Isabella Orsini Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi
  • This was by no means a terrifying conclusion to men inured to affray.

    Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman
  • Nothing was done, and probably there would not have been any thing done, had I been killed in the affray.

    My Bondage and My Freedom Frederick Douglass
  • A white man and a colored woman were indicted for an affray.

  • I have never been at one; and the name suggests nothing but an affray with bayonets.

    Cashel Byron's Profession George Bernard Shaw
  • The affray had burst over the slumbering town like a thunderclap.

  • Neither Wingrove nor I had an opportunity of taking part in the affray.

    The Wild Huntress Mayne Reid
  • That we had some hurt of such an affray goes without saying.

    The House Under the Sea Sir Max Pemberton
  • Then some of them, collecting again, held a hurried council, and sent off messengers with the news of this affray.

    Wood Magic Richard Jefferies
  • And then there was their own resentment as to that affray at Scumberg's.

    Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for affray


(law) a fight, noisy quarrel, or disturbance between two or more persons in a public place
(transitive) (archaic) to frighten
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Vulgar Latin exfridāre (unattested) to break the peace; compare German Friede peace
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 affray

c.1300, "state of alarm produced by a sudden disturbance," from Old French effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from esfreer (v.) "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exfridare, literally "to take out of peace," from Latin ex- "out of" (see ex-) + Frankish *frithu "peace," from Proto-Germanic *frithuz "peace, consideration, forbearance" (cf. Old Saxon frithu, Old English friðu, Old High German fridu "peace, truce"), from PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, love" (see free (adj.)). Meaning "breach of the peace, riotous fight in public" is from late 15c. Related verb afrey (early 14c.) survives almost exclusively in its past participle, afraid (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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