Definition of tambour in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtambʊə/


1 historical A small drum.
Example sentences
  • As the tambour (drum) was a spurned instrument, only the triangle could bring a strong support destined to accentuate the rhythms of the accordion dance.
  • Today, the tambour has found its rightful place, a typical orchestra is made up of a tambour and a diatonic accordion, complemented by some percussion instruments: triangle, drum sticks, objects filled with grains producing a sound close to the maracas and empty tinned cans that are rubbed or struck.
  • The Tambour also plays ongoing rolls at ranging speeds that provides a bass for the improvisation as a whole, as does the Triangle whose sounds are very softly present behind the entire improvisation, blending with the Cow Bell and Agogo.
2A circular frame for holding fabric taut while it is being embroidered.
Example sentences
  • A very similar application of screw threads was used in the stretchers for tambour and tapestry frames, except that the stretching was applied to both directions of the canvas yarns.
  • She stoops over her heavy tambour frame, at work that fascinates her black spaniel dog, which stands with its forepaws on the front bar to watch her dexterity.
  • The Tajik style of tapestries typically has floral designs on silk or cotton and is made on a tambour frame.
3 Architecture A wall of circular plan, such as one supporting a dome or surrounded by a colonnade.
Example sentences
  • Without these sagacities, the brickwork of the tambour, in addition to taking a very long time so that the concrete could dry up and solidify, would surely have been too heavy to support the dome.
  • In the fourteenth century, Macedonia was annexed by Serbia and numerous churches were renovated and built, mostly in the shape with a central cupola placed on a high tambour.
  • This artistic masterpiece of all time, which still dominates the panorama in Rome from wherever one looks, even from the sky, was built from the design by Michelangelo, who supervised the work on it until the completion of the tambour.
3.1Each of a sequence of cylindrical stones forming the shaft of a column.
4A lobby enclosed by a ceiling and folding doors to prevent draughts, typically within a church porch.
Example sentences
  • The chapel was separated from the central tower by the two folding doors that formed a small tambour.
  • St.Pierre's lovable houses, built from wood imported from New England because it withstood the humid cold, often include a tambour, a small, closed entrance, frequently with a curved roof.
4.1 [usually as modifier] A sliding flexible shutter or door on a piece of furniture: a tambour door
More example sentences
  • The bedrooms each had a fitted wardrobe with a large mahogany sliding or tambour door (those in the smaller bedrooms concealing a vanity unit), which gave the rooms a tidy appearance and enabled them to be more simply furnished.
  • Its wide arched opening with tambour doors is a notable detail sometimes found on furniture from the Salem area.
  • Floors jetty out, but are seemingly pulled back by the tambour shutters that make up the facade.
5A sloping buttress or projection in a real tennis or fives court.
Example sentences
  • There are minor differences in the width or angle of the penthouse roof above the corridor and in the width of the tambour as well as the dimensions of the court.
  • The practical significance of the tambour is that if you hit a shot off the sloped section (the ‘face’), it changes direction ninety degrees.
  • All serving is done on one side while the other is called the ‘receiving’ or ‘hazard’ side due to the protruding tambour.


[with object] (often as adjective tamboured)
Decorate or embroider on a tambour: a tamboured waistcoat
More example sentences
  • The west of Scotland was renowned for tamboured muslins, which were produced by women and girls working from home.
  • Coggeshall and tamboured lace has cotton net mounted into a frame and is worked using a tambour hook to make a continuous chain stitch to outline the design and create the fillings.
  • In this hospital the poor are well lodged, clothed, and fed; the house is kept clean and well aired; the young are instructed in the principles of religion, in reading English, and a little writing and are employed in such labour as is fitted for them, as making thread lace, tambouring muslins, setting card teeth etc.


Late 15th century: from French tambour 'drum'; perhaps related to Persian tabīra 'drum'. Compare with tabor.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tam|bour

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