affray ([schwa]-fray). The fighting, by mutual consent, of two or more persons in some public place, to the terror of onlookers. • The fighting must be mutual. If one person unlawfully attacks another who resorts to self-defense, the first is guilty of assault and battery, but there is no affray.

— Also termed fray. Cf. RIOT; un-lawful assembly under ASSEMBLY; ROUT. [Cases: Criminal Law 45.15. C.J.S. Affray §§ 2–3, 5, 7, 13, 20.]

“An affray differs from a riot, a rout, or an unlawful assembly in that an affray is not premeditated and in order to constitute a riot, a rout, or an unlawful assembly at least three participants are essential, while … an affray may be committed by only two. Moreover, an affray is more of a private nature than a riot.” 2A C.J.S. Affray § 3, at 519 (1972).

“The word ‘affray’ comes from the same source as the word ‘afraid,’ and the tendency to alarm the community is the very essence of this offense.” Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 479 (3d ed. 1982).

casual affray. See CHANCE-MEDLEY.

mutual affray. See MUTUAL COMBAT.