a receptacle for tobacco ashes of smokers.

Origin of ashtray

First recorded in 1885–90; ash1 + tray1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ashtray

Contemporary Examples of ashtray

Historical Examples of ashtray

  • "Can't find an ashtray," Bill muttered, seizing on something tangible.

    The Doorway

    Evelyn E. Smith

  • Then he picked up a cigar out of an ashtray in front of him and lit it, waiting.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • He put his pipe in an ashtray and held up a long, bony finger.

    Anything You Can Do ...

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • As he lifted the ashtray there was a concerted gasp from all sides.


    Harry Harrison

  • An ashtray with a magnet in its base to hold it to the metal edge of the table.


    Harry Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for ashtray



a receptacle for tobacco ash, cigarette butts, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ashtray

1857 as a receptacle for smokers' ashes, from ash (n.1) + tray.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper