Definition of prayer in English:

prayer

Line breaks: pray¦er
Pronunciation: /prɛː
 
/

noun

  • 1A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity: I’ll say a prayer for him [mass noun]: the peace of God is ours through prayer
    More example sentences
    • The milder and more beneficent forces of nature were addressed as female deities and invoked with prayers.
    • Human beings are addressing God in prayers for help against the inducements of the devil.
    • God answers our prayers because by addressing them to Him we acknowledge His Lordship and power.
    Synonyms
    invocation, intercession, devotion
    archaic orison
  • 1.1 (prayers) A religious service, especially a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together: 500 people were detained as they attended Friday prayers
    More example sentences
    • With your graciousness come to honor her loving memory during the funeral services and prayers.
    • The mosque is now used by about 100 people for regular prayers and up to 200 for religious festivals.
    • The strike came as worshippers had gathered for afternoon prayers, witnesses said.
  • 1.2An earnest hope or wish: it is our prayer that the current progress on human rights will be sustained
    More example sentences
    • Swan will carry the hopes and prayers of Ireland as the country's current equine hero seeks to retain his crown.
    • She started the restaurant when her marriage dissolved, on little but hope and prayers.
    • Our deepest sympathies, prayers and best wishes go out to our fellow citizens who were injured in the blast.

Phrases

not have a prayer

informal Have no chance at all of succeeding at something.
More example sentences
  • He was doing the best he could, but he doesn't have a prayer in succeeding.
  • If you cannot write some big cheques you don't have a prayer, which means that the system always throws up the same people.
  • Under his plan, you don't have a prayer of getting a flu shot, ladies and gentlemen.
Synonyms
have no hope, not have/stand a chance, have/stand no chance, not have/stand the ghost of a chance
informal not have a hope in hell, not have a cat in hell's chance, not have a dog's chance, not have/stand an earthly, not have a snowball's chance (in hell)
Australian/New Zealand informal not have Buckley's (chance)

Origin

Middle English: from Old French preiere, based on Latin precarius 'obtained by entreaty', from prex, prec- 'prayer'.

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