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fray (noun) quarrel, fight, argument, or competition.
When people join a fray they get involved in a quarrel or in an argument. People are in a fray if they enter a competition that is exciting or is seen as the test of one's merit. 'Four teams are in the fray.' This means that four teams are in the competition. 'He entered the fray in support of his friend.' This means that he entered the fight to support his friend.
- Even before it knew what was happening Britain found itself in the thick of the fray during World War II, fighting as an important member of the group of allied nations against Germany.
- Herman, who had been watching the argument as a bystander, entered the fray as someone passed an unsavory comment on his cousin in the course of the argument.