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See more synonyms for tray on Thesaurus.com
  1. a flat, shallow container or receptacle made of wood, metal, etc., usually with slightly raised edges, used for carrying, holding, or displaying articles of food, glass, china, etc.
  2. a removable receptacle of this shape in a cabinet, box, trunk, or the like, sometimes forming a drawer.
  3. a tray and its contents: to order a breakfast tray from room service.
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Origin of tray1

before 1050; Middle English; Old English trēg, trīg; cognate with Old Swedish trö corn measure; akin to tree


noun Australian Slang.
  1. a coin worth threepence.
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Origin of tray2

1895–1900; compare earlier argot trey, tray three, a set of three, probably ultimately < Italian tre (< Latin trēs three); cf. trey
Also called tray bit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tray


  1. a thin flat board or plate of metal, plastic, etc, usually with a raised edge, on which things can be carried
  2. a shallow receptacle for papers, etc, sometimes forming a drawer in a cabinet or box
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Word Origin

Old English trieg; related to Old Swedish trö corn measure, Old Norse treyja carrier, Greek driti tub, German Trog trough
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 tray


Old English treg, trig "flat board with a low rim," from Proto-Germanic *traujan (cf. Old Swedish tro, a corn measure). Related to Old English treow "wood, tree" (see tree (n.)) and the primary sense may have been "wooden vessel."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper