a receptacle for tobacco of smokers.
Contemporary Examples

Then he crunched the page, plopped it into an ashtray, lit a cigarette, and immolated the paper with the same match.
The Kaffeehaus Canon George Prochnik December 30, 2010

Ten thousand; two in the front, two in the back, the rest in the ashtray.
Can the Holocaust be Funny? Tom Doran April 5, 2013

Spying an ashtray filled with cigarette butts, she hurled it at his head.
Lena Horne’s Stormy Past James Gavin May 9, 2010

On the desk, an ashtray is filled with 23-year-old cigarette butts and a gas mask.
The KGB Welcomes You to Estonia’s Hotel Viru. Please Mind the Hidden Bugs Nina Strochlic July 30, 2014

A glass of vodka sat next to the ashtray on his night table.
Almost Famous: A Father’s Day Story Alex Belth June 14, 2014

Historical Examples

In the ashtray were a number of River’s cigarette butts, all holder-crimped, and a quantity of ash, some of it cigar-ash.
Murder in the Gunroom Henry Beam Piper

“Can’t find an ashtray,” Bill muttered, seizing on something tangible.
The Doorway Evelyn E. Smith

Carefully he snubbed his cigarette in an ashtray, then turned sharply to the girl.
Bear Trap Alan Edward Nourse

Then he picked up a cigar out of an ashtray in front of him and lit it, waiting.
The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper

Boyd looked for an ashtray, failed again to find one, and walked over to flip a second cigarette out onto Washington.
Occasion for Disaster Gordon Randall Garrett

a receptacle for tobacco ash, cigarette butts, etc

1857 as a receptacle for smokers’ ashes, from ash (n.1) + tray.

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