Definition of dray in English:



  • 1A truck or cart without sides, for delivering beer barrels or other heavy loads.

    • ‘A dray and shire horses were used to ferry Father Christmas across the brewery town centre to his grotto in the Boys' Sunday School, next to the church.’
    • ‘The day was supported by Fullers Brewery who sent their dray (and a large quantity of beer!).’
    • ‘It is 30 years since Major John Bartholomew, former Wadworth chairman, decided to reintroduce shire horses to pull the drays that deliver beer to licensed premises in the town.’
    • ‘Police stopped traffic so the dray could make a leisurely way through to St John's Street.’
    • ‘The dray will be the one that came with the first horses brought in by Major John Bartholomew and it is currently being given a fresh coat of paint in the company's paint shop in Northgate Street.’
    • ‘Although the Duke of Edinburgh has agreed to drive one of Wadworth's drays through the town centre next Tuesday, there is some controversy over his pulling a pint of 6X in the licensees' training centre.’
    • ‘He also said that a number of the drays that deliver the beer have been ‘debadged’ in a cost-saving measure.’
    • ‘I am especially looking for a picture of one of the brewery's drays or wagons.’
    • ‘The real novelty was the stables tour to see the shire horses that pull the drays.’
    • ‘For Mr Bartholomew, the chairman of Devizes-based Wadworth, went to pick up Ms Marsden on Thursday in a brewery dray done out in all its finery.’
    • ‘They are likely to be back on the streets soon pulling the dray with the equipment to water the summer hanging baskets.’
    • ‘Kate Hoey, one of the few Labour MPs to vote for hunting, sits for Vauxhall, where they probably haven't seen a horse since the brewery stopped using drays.’
    • ‘Nobody can pretend that these equine oiks are anything more than garden furniture, but they do pretend, they put them in front of carts and drays and make believe that the world is still cobbled.’
    • ‘When you finished selling your load at a shilling a bag, you could lie down and fall asleep in the dray and the auld horse would make his own way home.’
    • ‘For instance, why do we have Wadworth Brewery drays cluttering up our streets trundling through the town on roads unsuitable even to cope with 21 st-century traffic?’
    • ‘The Duke is calling in on the brewery to mark the 30th anniversary of the return of horse-drawn drays for delivering beer to licensed premises in the town.’
    • ‘The purpose of his visit was to mark the 30th anniversary of the return of horse-drawn drays to the town.’
    • ‘On his expeditions Major Thomas Mitchell travelled with carts or drays, and in 1836 he had a four-wheeled wagonette to carry a portable boat.’
    • ‘One pair of heavy draught animals with a heavy truck could pull as much as four one-horse drays.’
    • ‘In 1869 a Jesse Peel took over, installed a brewing plant and also sold beer wholesale on a dray.’
    1. 1.1Australian, NZ A two-wheeled cart.
      • ‘After the break the company once more advertised in the Adelaide papers that they wanted immediately a number of drays to cart ore from Yudanamutana and Blinman to Port Augusta.’
      • ‘Horses were also much more numerous and far cheaper by then than in the early colonial era, with its foot-slogging and bullock drays.’
      • ‘A landowner gave the land, men of all denominations gave their time and used their horses, bullocks, drays and tools to help with the building and the builder and the carpenter donated their time.’
      • ‘They left Adelaide on 12 November 1879 with four wagons, four drays, two express wagons, 40 men with portable troughs and a year's supply of fodder.’
      • ‘As the boat came slowly down the road to the beach, Bill Hayward steadied his team of four draught-horses, as he waited with a two-wheeled dray to haul the boat along the shore.’


Late Middle English (denoting a sledge): perhaps from Old English dræge ‘dragnet’, related to dragan ‘to pull’(see draw).