tab·​leau | \ ˈta-ˌblō How to pronounce tableau (audio) , ta-ˈblō How to pronounce tableau (audio) \
plural tableaux\ ˈta-​ˌblōz How to pronounce tableau (audio) , ta-​ˈblōz \ also tableaus

Definition of tableau

1 : a graphic description or representation : picture winsome tableaux of old-fashioned literary days— J. D. Hart
2 : a striking or artistic grouping : arrangement, scene
3 [short for tableau vivant (from French, literally, living picture)] : a depiction of a scene usually presented on a stage by silent and motionless costumed participants

Examples of tableau in a Sentence

The houses are grouped together in a charming tableau.
Recent Examples on the Web This is a person, identity unknown, portraying an object for a tableau presented in a theater. Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2021 Taken together, the ThredUp kits are a tableau of style identities corresponding with Gossip Girl viewers new and old. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 July 2021 The animatronic Biden will stand forefront in the presidential tableau. Mike Schneider, Star Tribune, 20 July 2021 The animatronic Biden will stand forefront in the presidential tableau. Fox News, 20 July 2021 The animatronic Biden will stand forefront in the presidential tableau. Mike Schneider, USA TODAY, 20 July 2021 The tableau was exactly where the White House had hoped the country would be by midsummer as vaccination rates inched upward and caseloads dropped. Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins And Jeff Zeleny, CNN, 14 July 2021 Alex Prager’s Crowd #1 (Stan Douglas) is a fictionalized tableau, a mode of picture making that dates back to the earliest days of the medium — a step between the stage of a theater and the sound stage of a film set. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, 29 June 2021 My birth tableau was a far cry from what childbirth looked like for most of human history. New York Times, 21 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tableau.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tableau

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tableau

French, from Middle French tablel, diminutive of table, from Old French

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Time Traveler for tableau

Time Traveler

The first known use of tableau was in 1660

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Dictionary Entries Near tableau



tableau curtain

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Statistics for tableau

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tableau.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for tableau



English Language Learners Definition of tableau

: a view or sight that looks like a picture : scene
: a scene that typically shows an event in history or literature and that is created on a stage by a group of people who are dressed in costumes and who do not speak or move


tab·​leau | \ ˈta-ˌblō How to pronounce tableau (audio) \
plural tableaux also tableaus\ -​ˌlōz \

Kids Definition of tableau

: a scene or event shown by a group of persons who remain still and silent

More from Merriam-Webster on tableau

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tableau

Nglish: Translation of tableau for Spanish Speakers


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