15 October 2004

affray - Word for the Day, Friday, 15 October 2004

affray · uh-FREI · noun

:a tumultuous assault or quarrel; a brawl.
Mounted encounters by armored knights locked in desperate hand-to-hand combat, stabbing and wrestling in tavern brawls, deceits and brutalities in street affrays, balletic homicide on the dueling field--these were the martial arts of Renaissance Europe.
--Sydney Anglo, The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe

An Irish soldier was stabbed with a boar spear by a German mercenary in 1544 during an affray that followed Henry VIII's capture of Boulogne.
--James Williams, "Hunting, hawking and the early Tudor gentleman," History Today, August 2003

Affray comes from Old French esfrei, from esfreer, "to disquiet, to frighten."

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