[tey-buh l]


verb (used with object), ta·bled, ta·bling.


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.
    1. U.S.postponed.
    2. 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,
    1. drunk.
    2. 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

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English tabule, variant of tabula < Latin: plank, tablet; (v.) late Middle English: to record on a table, entertain at table, derivative of the noun
Related formsta·ble·less, adjectiveun·ta·bled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for table

Contemporary Examples of table

Historical Examples of table

  • All is prepared—the table and the feast— With due appurtenance of clothes and cushions.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Half a dozen of Percival's friends sat at the table with them from time to time.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Blowing out the candle, he advanced to the table and set it down.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • She stood by the table, the light from a shaded lamp making her colour glow.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Almost every Barbarian at the table had made his own fortune.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for table



a flat horizontal slab or board, usually supported by one or more legs, on which objects may be placedRelated adjective: mensal
  1. such a slab or board on which food is servedwe were six at table
  2. (as modifier)table linen
  3. (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
  1. a company of persons assembled for a meal, game, etc
  2. (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
  1. an arrangement of words, numbers, or signs, usually in parallel columns, to display data or relationsa table of contents
  2. 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
  1. either of the two bony plates that form the inner and outer parts of the flat bones of the cranium
  2. 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

verb (tr)

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
Derived Formstableful, nountableless, adjective

Word Origin for table

C12: via Old French from Latin tabula a writing tablet
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

Word Origin and History for table

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.


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

table in Medicine




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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with table


see clear out (the table); lay one's cards on the table; on the table; set the table; turn the tables; under the table; wait at table.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.