🤩 Discover new information from across the web

prayer definition


This page has 7 definitions of prayer in English. Prayer is a noun. Examples of how to use prayer in a sentence are shown. Also define these 8 related words and terms: communicate, pray, Christian, recite, Lord, meeting, petition, and singular.


Etymology 1

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).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹɛə(ɹ)/
  • (US) enPR: prâr, prāʹər, IPA(key): /pɹɛɚ/, /ˈpɹeɪəɹ/, /ˈpɹɛɹ/
  • (file)


prayer (countable and uncountable, plural prayers)

  1. (uncountable) A practice of communicating with one's God.
    Through prayer I ask for God's guidance.
    In many cultures, prayer involves singing.
  2. (countable) An act of praying.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, […], down the nave to the western door. […] At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    • 2020 December, Dave Barry, "Year in review":
      In that spirit, we’ll close with the wish we always offer at the end of our annual review, although this time it’s more of a prayer: Happy new year.
  3. The specific words or methods used for praying.
    Christians recite the Lord's Prayer.
    For Baha'is there's a difference between obligatory and devotional prayer.
  4. A meeting held for the express purpose of praying.
    Grandpa never misses a chance to go to prayer.
  5. (countable) A request; a petition.
    This, your honor, is my prayer; that all here be set free.
  6. (in the singular, mostly in negative constructions) The remotest hope or chance.
    That team doesn't have a prayer of winning the championship.
Derived terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2

pray +‎ -er.



prayer (plural prayers)

  1. One who prays.
    • 1974, Shel Silverstein, “Invitation”, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Harper Collins Publishers:
      If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar / A hope-er[sic], a pray-er[sic], a magic bean buyer…
    • 2012, Paul O'Connor, Islam in Hong Kong: Muslims and Everyday Life in China's World City
      Out of the 37 respondents, seven are infrequent prayers who prefer to leave the precise details of their prayer life ambiguous.