AskDefine | Define tray

Dictionary Definition

tray n : an open receptacle for holding or displaying or serving articles or food

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A small, typically rectangular or round, flat, rigid object upon which things are carried.
    I carefully arranged the dishes on the tray and brought it upstairs.
  2. A flat carrier for items being transported.
    Make sure that tray of eggs is properly loaded.
  3. The items on a full tray.
    Before long they had consumed a whole tray of shrimp cocktails and sent for another.
  4. A component of a device into which an item is placed for use in the device's operations.
    The CD tray will not open.
    The loader is responsible for placing the work on the trays for the plating machines.


object on which things are carried
flat carrier for items being transported
  • Finnish: tarjotin
  • Portuguese: bandeja
items on a full tray
in computing
  • Finnish: kelkka
  • Polish: tacka
  • Portuguese: bandeja, barra


  1. To place items on a tray.
    Be sure to tray eggs with the large end up.
  2. To slide down a snow-covered hill on a tray from a cafeteria.
    Traying has provided collegiate fun and the occasional fatality for decades.

Extensive Definition

A tray is a shallow platform designed for carrying things. It is larger than a salver, a diminutive version commonly used for lighter and smaller servings, and it can be fashioned from numerous materials, including silver, brass, sheet iron, wood, melamine, and papier-mâché. Some examples have raised galleries, handles, and short feet for support.
Trays are flat, but with raised edges to stop things from sliding off of them. They are made in a range of shapes but are commonly found in oval or rectangular forms, sometimes with cutout or attached handles with which to carry them.
  • A butler's tray often has a gallery, or deeper surround, handles on the short sides to facilitate carrying (usually cut into the surround), and a portable stand with folding legs. It is used for the service of drinks and generally serves as a convenient side table.
  • A cafeteria tray is used for carrying items in a cafeteria. It is typically made of plastic or fiberglass. A compartment tray or mess tray is a cafeteria tray designed to be used directly, without dishes - it incorporates shallow compartments in which different types of food are placed.
  • In horticulture, seed trays are used for propagating vegetables and flowers and other plants from seed. They are also used for taking plant cuttings. The trays for seedling production are made of expanded polystyrene or polythene. They come in many sizes; the most common are the Danish and the European sized trays.


See also


tray in German: Tablett
tray in Esperanto: pleto
tray in Spanish: bandeja
tray in Persian: بارگیر
tray in Hebrew: מגש
tray in Dutch: dienblad
tray in Japanese: トレイ
tray in Swedish: Bricka
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