Definition of table in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtābəl/


1A piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed, and that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, working, or playing games.
Example sentences
  • He made occasional furniture pieces such as tables and chairs, as well as picture frames.
  • Around the edges of the room were pieces of furniture like tables and a few chairs.
  • The woodwork in the show includes large furniture items like tables, benches and screens as well as plates, letters openers and wine corkstoppers.
stand, dining table, kitchen table, coffee table;
counter, work surface, worktable, workbench;
bar, buffet;
1.1 [in singular] Food provided in a restaurant or household: he was reputed to have the finest French table of the time
meal, food, fare, menu, nourishment;
eatables, provisions
informal spread, grub, chow, eats, nosh
literary viands
dated victuals
1.2A group seated at a table for a meal: the whole table was in gales of laughter
More example sentences
  • After he left we discovered that he had insisted on paying for the meal for the whole table.
  • In the end, the table settled on getting a jug of red lemonade and a jug of water.
  • Everyone at the table seemed to instantly get up, and soon other tables followed suit.
1.3 (the table) A meeting place or forum for formal discussions held to settle an issue or dispute: the negotiating table
More example sentences
  • He said the only way to deal with serious issues was to sit around the table and negotiate.
  • I think we need to get people back to the table, back into discussions, begin to look at where we are.
  • There are a few factors that may be compelling India to talk about bringing the Kashmir issue to the table earlier rather than later.
1.4 [in singular] Bridge The dummy hand (which is exposed on the table): they made the hand easily with the aid of a club ruff on the table
2A set of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns: the population has grown, as shown in table 1 a table of contents
More example sentences
  • A number of excellent tables, figures and flow charts are included for clinicians to use in practice.
  • This section includes many thoughtful hypotheses that are backed up by clearly illustrated tables and figures.
  • We, too, still love glossy printed pages with beautifully laid out figures, tables, and illustrations.
chart, diagram, figure, graph, plan;
list, tabulation, index
2.1 Computing A collection of data stored in memory as a series of records, each defined by a unique key stored with it.
Example sentences
  • Information on how addresses are translated is kept in a set of page tables stored in main memory.
  • To this end, I created a new database to store the tables.
  • Of course, this means that we must first have an appropriate table defined in our database.
3A flat surface, in particular.
3.1 Architecture A flat, typically rectangular, vertical surface.
3.2A horizontal molding, especially a cornice.
3.3A slab of wood or stone bearing an inscription.
3.4A flat surface of a gem.
3.5A cut gem with two flat faces.
3.6Each half or quarter of a folding board for backgammon.


[with object]
1chiefly US Postpone consideration of: I’d like the issue to be tabled for the next few months
More example sentences
  • I move that that issue be tabled, that we may select a new First Councilor.
  • The abduction issue would be tabled if bilateral talks are resumed possibly later this month.
  • Following Council's usual practice, this motion was tabled, to be considered with other financial commitments at the end of the meeting.
postpone, delay, defer, sideline, put on the back burner
2British Present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting: an MP tabled an amendment to the bill
More example sentences
  • The discussions tabled during the meeting focused on creating a more unique festival atmosphere specific to Pattaya and reducing the time frame of the event.
  • Plans for the reception centres are expected to be tabled at a meeting of the British, Italian, Spanish, French and German justice ministers in Florence in October.
  • The same sources emphasise that the American has not yet formally tabled any bid for any further shares, never mind the Irish pair's vast holding.



at table

Seated at a table eating a meal.
Example sentences
  • I can't help hoping that the guest-leaders, seated at table in Okinawa, might read these words and ponder whom they are being hosted by.
  • But the origin of the singerie as a distinct genre is usually attributed to Claude Audran, who in 1709 painted an arbour with monkeys seated at table for the Château de Marly.
  • Sometime before I leave I will sit at table, in the middle of dinner with 80 people, I will be tired and grumpy and bored with conversation and I will tip my head back, open my mouth, and scream.

lay something on the table

1Make something known so that it can be freely and sensibly discussed.
Example sentences
  • Thus, they called this hearing to lay the issue on the table for discussion.
  • Death of a Superhero lays its credentials on the table as a novel of self-affirmation and self-belief.
  • Well, I suppose there's nothing like laying your trivia on the table at the outset so that anyone who's not up for some girlie chat can go put some shelves up in the kitchen.
2chiefly US Postpone something indefinitely.

on the table

Offered for discussion: our offer remains on the table
More example sentences
  • I did have my chance to go, the chairman told me there were two or three offers on the table.
  • Several clubs have been in touch and there are already a number of offers on the table.
  • The letter said you have seven days in which to sign, or the offer will not be on the table.

turn the tables

Reverse one’s position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage: police invited householders to a seminar on how to turn the tables on burglars
More example sentences
  • In effect, less powerful countries have an increased ability to obstruct the major powers, but they are in no position to turn the tables.
  • He times it carefully, and quickly turns the tables on the hermit, pressing his attack and his advantage.
  • So researchers turned the tables on the cancer, taking advantage of a tumor's ability to attract the stem cells.

under the table

1 informal Very drunk: by 3:30 everybody was under the table
2(Especially of making a payment) secretly or covertly: he accepted a slew of payoffs under the table
2.1 another term for under the counter (see counter1).



Pronunciation: /ˈtāb(ə)lˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural tablefuls)
Example sentences
  • At least, that's the way I heard Monica tell the story at a Friar's Club tableful of comedians, all of whom nodded that he'd done that to them, as well.
  • A few years ago, I was sitting with a tableful of artists who agreed to an equally bleak, and equally wrong, assessment of art.
  • Then one evening he had timidly inserted himself into a tableful of them because the pub was packed - Saturday night - and the bar owner had yanked a chair up to this table for him.


Old English tabule 'flat slab, inscribed tablet', from Latin tabula 'plank, tablet, list', reinforced in Middle English by Old French table.

  • The earliest examples of the word, from Latin tabula, referred to a flat board, slab, or surface, and it did not grow legs until around 1300. One of the first meanings was a gaming board—in the case of backgammon the plural tables was used, because its board has two folding halves. Although this meaning had died out by the mid 18th century it is preserved in the expression turn the tables, which arose from the common practice of turning the board round between games so that a player had to play from what had previously been their opponent's position. The early sense of table is also found in tablet (Middle English) for a small slab of stone. The notion of a compressed drug or confection in the shape of a lozenge dates from the late 16th century. The word tabloid (late 19th century), based on tablet, was originally the proprietary name of a medicine sold in tablets; the term then came to denote any small medicinal tablet of any brand. The application of tabloid to a newspaper (early 20th century) is from the notion of the stories being concentrated into an easily digestible form. Table d′hôte adopted from French in the early 17th century is literally ‘host's table’. The term originally described a table in a hotel or restaurant where all guests ate together, which led to its use for a meal served there at a stated time and for a fixed price. See also carpet

Words that rhyme with table

Abel, able, Babel, cable, enable, fable, gable, label, Mabel, sable, stable

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ta·ble

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