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[drey] /dreɪ/
a low, strong cart without fixed sides, for carrying heavy loads.
a sledge or sled.
any vehicle, as a truck, used to haul goods, especially one used to carry heavy loads.
verb (used with object)
to convey on a dray.
verb (used without object)
to drive or operate a dray, especially as an occupation.
to convey goods by dray, especially locally or for short distances.
Origin of dray
1325-75; Middle English draye sledge; compare Old English draeg- (in drægnet dragnet), akin to dragan to draw Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dray
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gen. Fremont ordered the Army of the West forward, but the so-called pursuit was very much like hunting a fox on a dray.

  • In this instance a dray was backed up to the curbstone, with paper.

  • The man was speared while reading a book beneath the dray, and the woman was sewing, sitting against the wheel of the dray.

    Reminiscences of Queensland William Henry Corfield
  • So then he bethought him of the little ass that was outside under the dray yet.

    Candle and Crib K. F. Purdon
  • "You told me she was your sister," the driver said, nodding his head towards the dray, where Alice lay sleeping.

    Grif B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
British Dictionary definitions for dray


  1. a low cart without fixed sides, used for carrying heavy loads
  2. (in combination): a drayman
any other vehicle or sledge used to carry a heavy load
Word Origin
Old English dræge dragnet; related to Old Norse draga load of timber carried on horseback and trailing on the ground; see draw


a variant spelling of drey
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
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Word Origin and History for dray

mid-14c., Middle English noun derivative of Old English dragan "to draw," originally meaning a cart without wheels that has to be "dragged" (cf. Old Norse draga "timber dragged behind a horse"); see drag (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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