[ ta-bloh, tab-loh ]
See synonyms for tableau on
noun,plural tab·leaux [ta-blohz, tab-lohz], /tæˈbloʊz, ˈtæb loʊz/, tab·leaus.
  1. a picture, as of a scene.

  2. a picturesque grouping of persons or objects; a striking scene.

  1. a representation of a picture, statue, scene, etc., by one or more persons suitably costumed and posed.

  2. Solitaire. the portion of a layout to which one may add cards according to suit or denomination.

Origin of tableau

First recorded in 1690–1700; from French: “board, picture,” Middle French tablel, diminutive of table table Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use tableau in a sentence

  • The guests were talking of having a few tableaux and charades, like some they had seen arranged by their older sisters.

  • There were ever so many tableaux after that—Captain Cavendish, impatient and fidgety, wondered if they would ever end.

    A Changed Heart | May Agnes Fleming
  • Vos tableaux ont une grce, un naturel, une nergie, qui surpasse ce que l'imagination mme peut attendre.

  • As a surprise arrange a little series of funny tableaux showing the different birthdays of the guest of honor.

    Suppers | Paul Pierce
  • As a matter of fact, she was not enthusiastic over being chosen for one of the principal parts in the Greek tableaux.

British Dictionary definitions for tableau


/ (ˈtæbləʊ) /

nounplural -leaux (-ləʊ, -ləʊz) or -leaus
  1. a pause during or at the end of a scene on stage when all the performers briefly freeze in position

  1. any dramatic group or scene

  2. logic short for semantic tableau

Origin of tableau

C17: from French, from Old French tablel a picture, diminutive of 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