- an article of furniture consisting of a flat, slablike top supported on one or more legs or other supports: a kitchen table; an operating table; a pool table.
- such a piece of furniture specifically used for serving food to those seated at it.
- the food placed on a table to be eaten: She sets a good table.
- a group of persons at a table, as for a meal, game, or business transaction.
- a gaming table.
- a flat or plane surface; a level area.
- a tableland or plateau.
- a concise list or guide: The table of contents in the front of the book includes chapter names and page numbers.
- an arrangement of words, numbers, or signs, or combinations of them, as in parallel columns, to exhibit a set of facts or relations in a definite, compact, and comprehensive form; a synopsis or scheme.
- (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Mensa.
- a flat and relatively thin piece of wood, stone, metal, or other hard substance, especially one artificially shaped for a particular purpose.
- a course or band, especially of masonry, having a distinctive form or position.
- a distinctively treated surface on a wall.
- a smooth, flat board or slab on which inscriptions may be put.
- the tablets on which certain collections of laws were anciently inscribed: the tables of the Decalogue.
- the laws themselves.
- Anatomy. the inner or outer hard layer or any of the flat bones of the skull.
- Music. a sounding board.
- the upper horizontal surface of a faceted gem.
- a gem with such a surface.
- to place (a card, money, etc.) on a table.
- to enter in or form into a table or list.
- Parliamentary Procedure.
- Chiefly U.S.to lay aside (a proposal, resolution, etc.) for future discussion, usually with a view to postponing or shelving the matter indefinitely.
- British.to present (a proposal, resolution, etc.) for discussion.
- of, relating to, or for use on a table: a table lamp.
- suitable for serving at a table or for eating or drinking: table grapes.
- on the table, Parliamentary Procedure.
- British.submitted for consideration.
- turn the tables, to cause a reversal of an existing situation, especially with regard to gaining the upper hand over a competitor, rival, antagonist, etc.: Fortune turned the tables and we won. We turned the tables on them and undersold them by 50 percent.
- under the table,
- as a bribe; secretly: She gave money under the table to get the apartment.
- wait (on) table, to work as a waiter or waitress: He worked his way through college by waiting table.Also wait tables.
Origin of table
- a flat horizontal slab or board, usually supported by one or more legs, on which objects may be placedRelated adjective: mensal
- such a slab or board on which food is servedwe were six at table
- (as modifier)table linen
- (in combination)a tablecloth
- food as served in a particular household or restauranta good table
- such a piece of furniture specially designed for any of various purposesa backgammon table; bird table
- a company of persons assembled for a meal, game, etc
- (as modifier)table talk
- any flat or level area, such as a plateau
- a rectangular panel set below or above the face of a wall
- architect another name for cordon (def. 4)
- an upper horizontal facet of a cut gem
- music the sounding board of a violin, guitar, or similar stringed instrument
- an arrangement of words, numbers, or signs, usually in parallel columns, to display data or relationsa table of contents
- See multiplication table
- a tablet on which laws were inscribed by the ancient Romans, the Hebrews, etc
- palmistry an area of the palm's surface bounded by four lines
- printing a slab of smooth metal on which ink is rolled to its proper consistency
- either of the two bony plates that form the inner and outer parts of the flat bones of the cranium
- any thin flat plate, esp of bone
- on the table put forward for discussion and acceptancewe currently have our final offer on the table
- turn the tables on someone to cause a complete reversal of circumstances, esp to defeat or get the better of someone who was previously in a stronger position
- to place on a table
- British to submit (a bill, etc) for consideration by a legislative body
- US to suspend discussion of (a bill, etc) indefinitely or for some time
- to enter in or form into a list; tabulate
Word Origin and History for on the table
in parliamentary sense, 1718, originally "to lay on the (speaker's) table for discussion," from table (n.). But in U.S. political jargon it has chiefly the sense of "to postpone indefinitely" (1866). Related: Tabled; tabling.
late 12c., "board, slab, plate," from Old French table "board, plank, writing table, picture" (11c.), and late Old English tabele, from West Germanic *tabal (cf. Old High German zabel, German Tafel), both the French and Germanic words from Latin tabula "a board, plank, table," originally "small flat slab or piece" usually for inscriptions or for games, of uncertain origin, related to Umbrian tafle "on the board."
The sense of "piece of furniture with the flat top and legs" first recorded c.1300 (the usual Latin word for this was mensa (see mensa); Old English writers used bord (see board (n.1)). The meaning "arrangement of numbers or other figures for convenience" is recorded from late 14c. (e.g. table of contents, mid-15c.).
Figurative phrase turn the tables (1630s) is from backgammon (in Old and Middle English the game was called tables). Table talk is attested from 1560s, translating Latin colloquia mensalis. To table-hop is first recorded 1956. The adjectival phrase under-the-table "hidden from view" is recorded from 1949; under the table "passed out from excess drinking" is recorded from 1921. Table tennis is recorded from 1887.
- An article of furniture supported by one or more vertical legs and having a flat horizontal surface.
- An orderly arrangement of data, especially one in which the data are arranged in columns and rows in an essentially rectangular form.
- An abbreviated list, as of contents; a synopsis.
- The inner or outer flat layer of bones of the skull separated by the diploe.
Idioms and Phrases with on the table
on the table
Up for discussion, as in There are two new proposals on the table. [Mid-1600s]
Postponed or put aside for later consideration, as in When they adjourned, three items were put on the table until the next meeting. [First half of 1700s] The table in both idioms is a figurative conference table. Also see lay one's cards on the table.