1. bighotrod New Member

    united states english
    i cannot find in an english dictionary or a french to english web site the proper spelling for the expression (these both might be incorrect) "pres-tell" or "pre-tell", as in: what, pre-tell, were you doing last night?

    p.s. yes- i know that the spelling in the title is definitely not it. thanks for any help.
  2. fleuriste-du-mal Senior Member

    US - English
    It is "pray tell"

    Pray as in "I pray you" which we used to say and of course the French still do : "je t'en prie"

    Basically a shortening of "I pray you, do tell"
  3. fleuriste-du-mal Senior Member

    US - English
    In case I didn't make that clear, this is from the OED:

    8. †a. I pray you (thee): used parenthetically to add instance or deference to a question or request. So b. pray you, pray thee, etc. (Cf. prithee.) c. I pray. Obs.
    1519 Interl. 4 Elements Biv, Syr, I pray you, be contente, It is not vtterly myne intente Your company to exyle. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 1b, Ascrybe it (I praye you) to my insuffycyency and ignoraunce. 1596 Shakes. Merch. V. ii. ii. 35 Maister yong-man, you I praie you, which is the waie to Maister Iewes? 1601 ? Marston Pasquil & Kath. iii. 302 Oh, I am maz'd with ioy, I pree-thee, sweet, Vnfold to me, what said mischance it was. 1524 Q. Margaret in Mrs. Wood Lett. Illustr. Ladies (1846) I. 327 Pray your grace to pardon me that I write so plainly to you. 1590 Marlowe Edw. II, ii. ii, Pray thee let me know it. a1661 B. Holyday Juvenal 137 ‘Reward!’ says one, ‘why, pray y', what do I know?’ 1676 Hobbes Iliad 91 But, brother, pra'ye, sit down and rest a while. 1591 Shakes. 1 Hen. VI, v. v. 36 Why what (I pray) is Margaret more then that? 1630 Prynne Anti-Armin. 134, I pray, what Scripture proues it? 1704 Norris Ideal World ii. xii. 457 Where, I pray, is it that we see it?

    d. Contracted to pray (cf. please v. 6c).
    15+ in Jyl of Brentford's Test., etc. (Ballad Soc.) 41 Pray doe it over again. 1610 Shakes. Temp. iii. i. 18 Pray set it down, and rest you. 1700 Farquhar Constant Couple iii. i, Pray, sir, are the roads deep between this and Paris? 1707 Freind Peterborow's Cond. Spain 113 Pray consider the consequences of a lost Battle. 1802 M. Edgeworth Moral T. (1816) I. viii. 61 Pray let me pass. 1838–9 F. A. Kemble Resid. in Georgia (1863) 33 Now pray take notice. 1875 Jowett Plato (ed. 2) III. 354 Shall I tell you why? Pray do.
  4. Jominare Senior Member

    Salut ! Qu'est-ce que veut dire ce groupe de mots ? Voilà le contexte :

    Traduction : Hein, je t'en prie, qu'y a-t-il d'électronique là-dedans ?

    Merci !
  5. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    En effet, c'est ça.

    Vu la vétusté de cette expression shakepearienne, il y a sans doute un chouia d'ironie.
  6. Jominare Senior Member

    OK, thanks!

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