Green’s Dictionary of Slang

crate n.

[SE crate, a container; all descriptions of animals/vehicles carry a taint of inferiority and/or the possibility of a physical or mechanical breakdown]

1. [mid–late 19C] (US) an old or worthless horse.

2. [1910s+] an aeroplane.

3. [1920s] (US Und.) a (wall) safe.

4. [1920s+] an automobile.

5. [1930s–60s] (US) a coffin; thus crated adj., in a coffin.

6. [1940s–60s] (US tramp/Und.) a prison.

7. [1940s–60s] a boat.

8. [1940s+] a lorry; a bus.

9. [1950s] a railway hand car.

10. [1950s] a tank.

11. [1980s] (Aus.) a bicycle.

In phrases