prayer

prayer, suit, plea, petition, appeal mean an earnest and usually a formal request for something and their corresponding intransitive verbs pray, sue, plead, petition, appeal mean to make such a request.
Prayer and pray imply that the request is made to a person or body invested with authority or power or especially to God or a god; the words usually therefore connote humility in approach and often fervor in entreating
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we do pray for mercy; and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy— Shak.

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In religious use, where prayer and pray always imply an act of worship, they may or may not connote a request or petition. The implication of making a request is retained, however, in the specific legal use of these terms in a court of equity, where formally one prays for relief; the prayer in a bill in equity is the part that specifies the kind of relief sought. The words are also used in formal petitions or remonstrances to a legislative body.
Suit and sue imply a deferential and formal solicitation sometimes for help or relief but often for a favor, a grace, or a kindness. Except in legal use (see SUIT n 2) in reference to the addresses of a man to the lady he hopes to marry, and in some idiomatic phrases such as "sue for peace," the words are somewhat old-fashioned in flavor
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his suit to the Muse . . . relies too much on exertions and capacities— The Nation

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she sued year after year ... for acceptance by a society of dreary dowagers— E. K. Brown

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Plea (see also APOLOGY) and plead often suggest a court of law, the status of a defendant or of an accused person, and formal statements in answer to a plaintiff's allegations or the state's charge. In general use both terms imply argument or urgent entreaty, of which self-justification, a desire for vindication or support, or strong partisanship is usually the motive
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make a plea for forgiveness

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plead for a more tolerant attitude

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she dreaded the arguments, their tear- stained pleasMalamud

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I plead frankly for the theistic hypothesis as involving fewer difficulties than any other— Inge

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Petition and its verb petition imply a formal and specific request, often in writing, presented to the person or body that has power to grant it. The words carry little or no connotation of abject humility or of entreaty; rather, they suggest a right to make a request, as one of the sovereign people or as one who is confident that it will be judged on its merits
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the flood of petitions from business interests begging relief from the political crisis— Woodward

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she neither petitioned for her right, nor claimed it— Meredith

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Appeal, as noun and verb, basically implies a call for attention to and favorable consideration of one's plea
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appeal for mercy

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appeal to one's family for help

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Often it additionally connotes an insistence on being heard and hence a change of plea from an inferior to a superior power (as a higher court or a higher authority) or to an emotion in an attempt to evoke a favorable response or judgment
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appeal to the supreme court for a new trial

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to what sources of information do I appeal for guidance?— Cardozo

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Mantalinis and Dobbins who pursue women with appeals to their pity or jealousy or vanity— Shaw

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Sometimes, used alone, either noun or verb implies a sympathetic or favorable response or a compelling quality
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an appealing child

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the song has a human appeal

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Analogous words: supplication, entreaty, beseeching, imploring, begging (see corresponding verbs at BEG): worship, adoration (see under REVERE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prayer — • The raising of the heart and mind to God Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. prayer     Prayer     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • PRAYER — PRAYER, the offering of petition, confession, adoration or thanksgiving to God. In the Bible The concept of prayer is based on the conviction that God exists, hears, and answers (Ps. 65:3; cf. 115:3–7) – that He is a personal deity. In a sense it …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Prayer — «Prayer» Сингл Disturbed из альбома Believe …   Википедия

  • prayer — W3S3 [preə US prer] n [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: preiere, from Latin precaria, from prex; PRAY1] 1.) words that you say when praying to God or gods ▪ Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. ▪ The children said… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • prayer — / prer/ n: the part of a pleading (as a complaint) that specifies the relief sought; also: a request for relief or some other action by the court Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. prayer …   Law dictionary

  • prayer — [ prer ] noun ** count the words that someone says when they are speaking to God: say a prayer: He said a prayer for their safe return. prayer for: a prayer for peace say your prayers (=pray): I go to church every Sunday and I say my prayers. a.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Prayer — (?; 277), n. [OE. preiere, OF. preiere, F. pri[ e]re, fr. L. precarius obtained by prayer, fr. precari to pray. See {Pray}, v. i.] 1. The act of praying, or of asking a favor; earnest request or entreaty; hence, a petition or memorial addressed… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prayer — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Prayer» Sencillo de Nami Tamaki del álbum Greeting Publicación 12 de noviembre de 2003 Formato Maxi single …   Wikipedia Español

  • Prayer — Single par Nami Tamaki extrait de l’album Greeting Face A Prayer Face B real dreaM Sortie 12 novembre 2003 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • prayer — prayer; prayer·ful; prayer·less; prayer·ful·ly; prayer·ful·ness; prayer·less·ly; prayer·less·ness; …   English syllables

  • Prayer —    Prayer has been defined as the soul s converse with God, or communion with God in devotional exercises, and may be said to be a universally recognized necessity in the life of man. But prayer involves much more than simply asking for certain… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia


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