Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tray for serving food or drinks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who salves or cures.
  • n. One who pretends to cure; quacksalver.
  • n. One who salves or saves goods, etc. from destruction or loss.
  • n. A tray used to display or serve food.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who salves, or uses salve as a remedy; hence, a quacksalver, or quack.
  • n. A salvor.
  • n. A tray or waiter on which anything is presented.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who salves or cures, or one who pretends to cure: as, a quacksalver.
  • n. One who salves or saves goods, a vessel, etc., from destruction or loss by fire, shipwreck, etc.
  • n. A tray, especially a large and heavy one, upon which anything is offered to a person, as in the service of the table.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a tray (or large plate) for serving food or drinks; usually made of silver

Etymologies

Alteration of French salve, from Spanish salva, tasting of food to detect poison, salver, from salvar, to save, taste food to detect poison, from Late Latin salvāre, to save; see salvage.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English *salvere, from Old English *sealfere ("salver, one who anoints"), equivalent to salve +‎ -er. Cognate with Dutch zalver ("salver"), German Salber ("salver"). (Wiktionary)
From salve (“to save”) +‎ -er. (Wiktionary)
Alteration of Spanish salva ("plate, foretasting of viands prior to serving"), from salvar ("to save, taste food for one's master"), from Latin salvō ("save", v). More at save. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • From "A Field of Snow on a Slope of the Rosenberg" by Guy Davenport.

    January 19, 2010