From Proto-Vietic *k-laːjʔ, from Proto-Mon-Khmer *klaj(ʔ) ~ *klaaj(ʔ) (“to change”), cognate with Muong tlải, Tho [Cuối Chăm] klaːj³, Khmer ក្លាយ (klaay, “to change”), Mon ကၠဲာ (klai, “to translate”). Compare also Thai กลาย (glaai), Lao ກາຍ (kāi).
- (often with bên) left (side, direction)
- bên trái ― on the left
- Rẽ/Quẹo (tay) trái.
- Turn left.
- reverse (side)
- mặt trái của tấm vải ― the reverse of a piece of cloth
- (rare) morally wrong, unreasonable, illogical
- phân rõ phải trái, đúng sai ― to distinguish between right and wrong
- (left): tả (only in certain contexts); chiêu
- (reverse): sau
- (morally wrong, unreasonable): trái lẽ, trái lý, trái lí
- inside out
- Lộn trái quần áo để phơi.
- Turn the clothes inside out and hang them out to dry.
- contrary to, despite
- nắng trái tiết ― unseasonably sunny (literally, “sunny despite the climate”)
- trái nghĩa ― antonymous
- trái với quan niệm thông thường ― contrary to popular belief
This is originally the Southern form. The North Central form trấy is still extensively used in these dialects. The Northern forms giái (inland dialects), lái (as in lái tim, coastal dialects) are also attested, but now are mostly displaced by Sino-Vietnamese quả when used as a stand-alone noun and by Southern trái when used as part of compound (as in Trái Đất (“the Earth”)).
- (Northern Vietnam, inland dialects, probably obsolete) giái
- (Northern Vietnam, coastal dialects, probably obsolete) lái
- (North Central Vietnam) trấy
- (chiefly Central Vietnam, Southern Vietnam) a piece of fruit
- ăn trái (cây) ― to eat fruit
- (informal) land mine
- gài trái ― to place land mines
- (chiefly Central Vietnam, Southern Vietnam) Refers to anything round, such as a piece of fruit.
- trái chôm chôm ― rambutan
- trái lựu đạn ― grenade
- trái núi ― mountain
- trái banh ― football
- trái cây ― a piece of fruit
- (anything round): quả
- lên trái ― to come down with smallpox
- (smallpox): đậu mùa
Sino-Vietnamese reading of various Chinese characters.