\ˈtrā \

Definition of tray 

: an open receptacle with a flat bottom and a low rim for holding, carrying, or exhibiting articles

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Other Words from tray

trayful \ˈtrā-ˌfu̇l \ noun

Examples of tray in a Sentence

She carried the tray of food to our table. a car with several storage trays

Recent Examples on the Web

Elsewhere in the photo, there's more food on a tray, which also looks good! Rachel Torgerson, Cosmopolitan, "Kourtney Kardashian Thinks You’ll Notice the Guacamole in This Pic LOL," 25 Jan. 2018 Hadley remembered three of everything in those months: three swimsuits on the line, three breakfast trays and so on. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Hemingway’s Last Girl," 12 July 2018 The agency didn’t adopt such rules but some airlines allow passengers with nut allergies to board early to wipe down seats, trays and armrests of any leftover peanut residue from previous flights. Hugo Martin,, "Peanut allergies spur Southwest to switch its free onboard snacks," 10 July 2018 Maple and oak trays release acidic gases that can damage straw baskets, pottery, fabric and other objects that are a few thousand years old. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Public Museum officials seek changes in county lease to aid move to new home," 6 July 2018 There are now more interior storage trays and cubbies. star-telegram, "Infiniti QX80 full-size luxury SUV brings elegance, technology to the family hauler," 30 June 2018 Place the pork butt on the grates of the smoker (not in a pan or tray) fat side down for 12 hours until tender. Kelly Vaughan,, "BBQ Recipes," 22 June 2018 All foods here are served on silver metal trays and the utensils are reusable chopsticks. Jenni Marsh, CNN, "Our children's plastic lives seen through lunches," 7 June 2018 Other options include slate or ceramic trays or any large serving platter. Becky Krystal, charlotteobserver, "How to build the ultimate cheese board," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tray.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tray

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tray

Middle English, from Old English trīg, trēg; akin to Old Swedish trø wooden grain measure and probably to Old English trēow tree — more at tree entry 1

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Phrases Related to tray

in tray

litter tray

out tray

Statistics for tray

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tray

The first known use of tray was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for tray



English Language Learners Definition of tray

: a thin, flat, and often rectangular piece of plastic, metal, wood, etc., that has a low rim and that is used for carrying things

: a container that has low sides and usually no top and that is used to hold something


\ˈtrā \

Kids Definition of tray

: an open container with a flat bottom and low rim for holding, carrying, or showing articles a waiter's tray a tray of ice cubes


\ˈtrā \

Medical Definition of tray 

: an appliance consisting of a flanged body and a handle for use in holding plastic material against the gums or teeth in making negative impressions for dentures

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Comments on tray

What made you want to look up tray? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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