[ri-tey-buh l, ree-tey-]
See more synonyms for retable on
  1. a decorative structure raised above an altar at the back, often forming a frame for a picture, bas-relief, or the like, and sometimes including a shelf or shelves, as for ornaments.

Origin of retable

1815–25; < French, equivalent to Old French re(re) at the back (< Latin retrō) + table table; compare Medieval Latin retrōtabulum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for retable

shrine, font, tabernacle, reredos, chantry, retable

Examples from the Web for retable

Historical Examples of retable

  • Above the retable is the Madonna with two saints on either side: the crucifix surmounts the whole composition.


    David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford

  • The retable has two miracle reliefs, and between them a small bronze Christ, which has been put there in error.


    David Lindsay, Earl of Crawford

  • The candlesticks, in churches where lights at the Holy Communion are used, stand at the ends of the retable.

    The Worship of the Church

    Jacob A. Regester

  • In the ancient Abbey Church are two masterpieces, a retable in carved wood and a tomb ornamented with exquisite statuettes.

    East of Paris

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Another exquisite example of wood carving may be seen in the chapel of Notre-Dame de Compassion, forming the retable.

    The Churches of Paris

    S. Sophia Beale

British Dictionary definitions for retable


  1. an ornamental screenlike structure above and behind an altar, esp one used as a setting for a religious picture or carving

Word Origin for retable

C19: from French, from Spanish retablo, from Latin retrō behind + tabula board; see rear 1, table
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012