Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tray n.1

also dray, tre, trey
[Ital. tre, three]

1. three, whether as a digit or a set of three; as v., to throw a three in dice.

[UK]Chaucer Pardoner’s Tale line 651: Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is cink and treye; By goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye, This dagger shal thurgh-out thyn herte go – This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two, Forswering, ire, falsnesse, homicyde.
[UK]Skelton Bowge of Courte line 346: And on the borde he whyrld a payre of bones, ‘Quater treye dews’ he clatered as he wente.
[UK]Skelton Why Come Ye Nat to Courte? line 878: With, ‘trey duse ase’ And, ‘ase in the face.’.
[UK]G. Walker Detection of Vyle and Detestable Use of Dice Play 28: I cogg and keep alway an ace, deuce, or tray.
[UK]Appius and Virginia in Farmer (1908) 11: With hey-trick, ho-troll, trey-trip and trey-trace.
[UK]Nashe Martin-Marprelate Tractes in Works I (1883–4) 161: They maie in the end with a tripsie Tray, carrie all awaie smoothe.
[UK]Shakespeare Love’s Labour’s Lost V ii: prin.: Honey, and milk, and sugar; there are three. ber.: Nay then, two treys, an if you grow so nice, Metheglin, wort, and malmsey: well run, dice!
[UK]Middleton Your Five Gallants III ii: Why was not I as often haunted with two tras and a quarter.
[UK]Rowley Woman never Vext 18: iack: Two Quarters and a Tray. step.: I hope we shall have good cheere, when two Caters, and a Tray goe toth’ market.
[UK]T. Randolph Hey for Honesty II v: Tre and cater, there’s but an ace difference.
[UK] ‘The Riddle’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) I 49: T-rey comes like Quater, to pull down the Buck.
[UK]Etherege Love In A Tub II iii: Two of a sort; two Cinques, two Tre’s.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 375: He gave me two Trays and an Ace.
[UK]C. Cotton Compleat Gamester 170: Four and Five to Seven is judged to have the worst on’t, because Four (called by the Tribe of Nickers little Dick-Fisher) and Five have but two chances, Trey Ace and two Deuces, or Trey Deuce and Quarter Ace.
[UK]A. Radcliffe ‘The Sword’s Farewell’ in Poems 118: And in the stead of every Trey that’s thrown, So many Tryals may we call our own.
[UK]S. Centlivre Gamester Act IV: Four, Trey-Ace.
[UK]W. Perry Only Sure Guide 181: Trey, the three at cards.
[UK] ‘Tom the Drover’ No. 30 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: At the broads I can palm with the queerest, slip [...] a duce or a tray.
[UK]T. Tucker ‘Daniel Dab’ in Egan Bk of Sports (1832) 15: For if a tray of trades won’t win, / I think the deuce is in it.
[UK]Thackeray Shabby Genteel Story (1853) 112: They [...] had scarcely spoken a word the whole way except ‘deuce-ace,’ ‘quater-tray.’.
Adelaide Obs. (SA) 20 June 4/1: An expression used by the prisoner Whitehouse on his receiving sentence has rather puzzled the knowing ones [...] It was ‘Two tres and an ace,’ and was supposed to refer to himself and Williams as the small cards, and to White as the larger.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 27: dray Three.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 140/1: Tray soldi, quatro soldi.
[US]Chicago Trib. 7 Aug. in A. Pinkerton Reminiscences (1879) 205: I wager thee, / That I can pick the Trey from out / The shuffled paste-boards there.
[UK]J.H. Carter ‘Fightin’ Bill’ Log of Commodore Rollingpin 199: Bill staid in the game with his deuces and trays.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Dec. 6/6: ‘How much is it?’ ‘Tray beong say saltee’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 20/1: I drew two aces and two ‘treys,’ / I raised before the draw; / But everybody stood the raise – / I ’gan to feel a flaw. / I drew a card – oh! kindly grace – / I drew another ace!
[UK]Sporting Times 22 Feb. 2/2: Three months’ imprisonment was the proper dose for such an idiot, the three weeks already served on remand to be deducted from the said tray of moons.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 195: There’s a tray of ’em — two privates an’ a corporal.
[US]Sun (NY) 10 July 29/4: Here is a genuine letter written in thieves’ slang, recently found by the English police [...] The noise of the milling the glass brought tray flies. She chucked a reeler and was lugged before the beak and fine[d] a bull.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Sept. 38/2: And ‘Salvation’s’ in the filling of a hat / When it’s clerical of cut, and handed round / With a deftness which takes in the tray and sprat.
[Aus]Warracknabeal Herald (Vic.) 10 Aug. 4/6: The first two parts of the great serial story, ‘The Trey o’ Hearts,’ were shown, and were full of sensational and exciting features from beginning to end.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Carmen’ Gullible’s Travels 7: If you hadn’t of had a regular epidemic o’ discardin’ deuces and treys Hatch would of treated us to groceries for a week.
[US]H. Wiley Wildcat 82: On seven, ’leven an’ my point I wins. If I dooce, trays or twelves I loses.
[US]‘Max Brand’ ‘The Ghost’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 61/2: I ain’t a guy to bet a measly pair of treys against a full house.
[Aus]Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld) 16 Nov. 4/4: The officials of various organisations who appeal direct to the public tell with monotonous persistence the story of the preponderance of ‘treys’ in their ‘hauls’ since the depression stalks the land.
[US]S. Kingsley Dead End Act II: Two pair. Deuces and trays.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 173: Deuce means there was nobody there but us two, / Trey means the third party, Charlie was his name.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 12: Ole man, it’s about a tray of haircuts on the backbeat when I nixes my pad.
[US]C. Himes ‘The Something in a Colored Man’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 405: One had the seven of spades, the trey of hearts, the six of clubs, the nine of diamonds, and the queen of spades.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 203: Trey means the third party, Charlie was his name.
[US]R. Abrahams Deep Down In The Jungle 101: I’ma hold my deuces, lay down my treys.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 116: $7,700 of the Peter’s Pence Collection [...] riding on a pair of treys.
[US]L. Bing Do or Die (1992) 97: My favorite [gun] was a trey-five-seven. Used to call it my three hunded and fifty-seven homeboys.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 129: My cards that evening were an ace, deuce, trey and five – with a face card.

2. the male genitals, i.e. one penis plus two testicles.

[UK]‘The Female Gamester’ in Facetious Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 272: Though fair to play, I shew my tray, / Her deuce will get the game.
[UK]‘The Female Gamester’ in Facetious Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 272: If I look fierce, and shew my tierce, / A quart she alwa[y]s had.

3. (also treemoon, treyer) a three-month or three-year prison sentence.

[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 413: I got a charge of small shot in my legs and a treemoon o’ reesbin for bluey-crackin, and when I come out ’er steel I padded the hoof to Start.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Belinda to the Bench’ Sporting Times 13 Oct. 1/4: I can read it in your chevy, I can read it like a clock, / That for me you’ve got a moon or two, perhaps a ‘tray’ in stock. / What, a brace with ‘hard’?
[UK]Sporting Times 15 Apr. 2/4: Mr. Mills is now doing his tray.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 226/2: Treyer. 1. Three dollars. 2. (P) Three years.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 211: What’ll happen after I do that trey?
[UK]A. Burgess Doctor Is Sick (1972) 114: ‘What have you done?’ ‘A tray on the moor’.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 201: cop a deuce, trey, or ace, v. – to be sentenced to two, three, or one years.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 206: I heisted a bank once [...] did a trey in the joint.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 151: Hear you pulled a trey.

4. £3.

[UK]F. Norman in Encounter n.d. in Norman’s London (1969) 61: three pounds – Tray (but not used much).

5. (also treyer) $3.

see sense 2.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 85: I clipped a dance moll for a swab, it paid a trey or a fin.
[US]JVC Force ‘Strong Island’ [lyrics] A dome, not a five or a tray.

6. (US black/drugs, also trey bag) a $3 packet of heroin.

[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia xx: The purchases are made in cash: an ace ($1), deuce, trey.
[US]Last Poets ‘Jones Comin Down’ [lyrics] Two small treys – that’s enough to take my gorilla jones away.
[US]B. Davidson Collura (1978) 61: He succeeded in making a buy of two ‘treys.’.
[US]N. George ‘Cool vs. Chilly’ in Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 69: Before the sale of trey bags gave way to red caps.

7. (also trey bag) a $3 packet of marijuana.

[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 12: ‘You got trey bags?’ I asked. ‘Treys an’ nickels.’.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 21: Tray — $3 bag of marijuana.

8. (UK Black/gang) a .357 revolver.

67 ‘Today’ [lyrics] 25 in the Mac, 2 in the dotty, 6 in the trey.

In compounds

tray-deuce (n.)

(US Und.) a .32 pistol.

[US]Notorious B.I.G. ‘Party & Bullshit’ [lyrics] I used to have the trey deuce & the deuce deuce in my bubblegoose.
[US]Memphis Bleek ‘Is That Yo Chick?’ [lyrics] Keep it snug, tre deuce in the boot.
[US]Cam’Ron ‘Get It In Ohio’ [lyrics] White coke, tan dope, black gun, trey deuce.

In phrases

trey of knockers (n.) [the three balls hanging above such shops]

(US black) a pawnbroker’s shop.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 216: I’m gonna lay a drape under the trey of knockers for Tenth Street.