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 The main street in Loppersum - a village of 2,500 - is now a grim tableau of the quake years, including small tremors that continue today despite much-reduced extraction. Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2022 Each of the seven crime scenes is a hellish tableau of writer Andrew Kevin Walker's imagining, lending a structure to the detectives' quest that gradually leads straight down into the unthinkable, still-shocking conclusion. Dennis Perkins,, 2 Aug. 2022 The video, directed by V, is a vibrant tableau of positive vibes. Dora Segall, SPIN, 22 July 2022 His Mengele takes his place in a vividly detailed tableau of South American society, ensconced in a circle of fugitive Nazis that includes Adolf Eichmann. Amanda Demarco, WSJ, 22 July 2022 At SoFi, images of naked women gyrated in silhouette on a video screen behind the band, just like in the good old days; two enormous female-shaped inflatables eventually came to life to complete the horny tableau. Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2022 The iconic tableau, which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors annually before the pandemic, is housed in the refectory of the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. CNN, 29 June 2022 Her public housing complex, Kwai Chung, had turned into a dystopian tableau. Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2022 One steam-bath afternoon in the summer of 2010, Collins and Reid were summoned by the authorities to a grim tableau. Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone, 4 July 2022 See More

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.

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 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tableau.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for tableau


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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