[tam-boo r, tam-boo r]
  1. Music. a drum.
  2. a drum player.
  3. Also called tabaret. a circular frame consisting of two hoops, one fitting within the other, in which cloth is stretched for embroidering.
  4. embroidery done on such a frame.
  5. Furniture. a flexible shutter used as a desk top or in place of a door, composed of a number of closely set wood strips attached to a piece of cloth, the whole sliding in grooves along the sides or at the top and bottom.
  6. Architecture. drum1(def 10).
  7. Court Tennis. a sloping buttress opposite the penthouse, on the hazard side of the court.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to embroider on a tambour.

Origin of tambour

1475–85; < Middle French: drum ≪ Arabic tanbūr lute < Medieval Greek pandoúra; cf. bandore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tambour

Historical Examples of tambour

  • But no, he never noticed him no more than the tambour that beat the rappel.

  • Another work for the stage is the comic opera, "Tambour Battant."

  • For stitching through, there is a finer thread, called "tambour."

    Art in Needlework

    Lewis F. Day

  • Limerick lace is of two kinds, known as the tambour and run lace.

    One Irish Summer

    William Eleroy Curtis

  • At length the tambour in the great temple sounded the signal of assemblage.

    The Fair God

    Lew Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for tambour


  1. real tennis the sloping buttress on one side of the receiver's end of the court
  2. a small round embroidery frame, consisting of two concentric hoops over which the fabric is stretched while being worked
  3. embroidered work done on such a frame
  4. a sliding door on desks, cabinets, etc, made of thin strips of wood glued side by side onto a canvas backing
  5. architect a wall that is circular in plan, esp one that supports a dome or one that is surrounded by a colonnade
  6. a drum
  1. to embroider (fabric or a design) on a tambour

Word Origin for tambour

C15: from French, from tabour tabor
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