[teyt-uh-teyt, tet-uh-tet; French te-ta-tet]

noun, plural tête-à-têtes, French tête-à-tête.

a private conversation or interview, usually between two people.
Also called vis-à-vis. a sofa shaped like an S so two people are able to converse face to face.


of, between, or for two persons together without others.


(of two persons) together in private: to sit tête-à-tête.

Origin of tête-à-tête

1690–1700; < French: literally, head to head
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tete-a-tete

Historical Examples of tete-a-tete

  • He never interrupted a confidence; never marred a tete-a-tete.

  • Pardon me for interrupting your tete-a-tete, but do you know who has charge of the games?

  • He seemed embarrassed by the tete-a-tete which, nevertheless, he had sought.

  • We literally burst unannounced into the tete-a-tete on the porch.

    The Silent Bullet

    Arthur B. Reeve

  • Jewel was not late to lunch, but eating it tete-a-tete with aunt Madge was not to her taste.


    Clara Louise Burnham

British Dictionary definitions for tete-a-tete


noun plural -têtes or -tête

  1. a private conversation between two people
  2. (as modifier)a tête-à-tête conversation
a small sofa for two people, esp one that is S-shaped in plan so that the sitters are almost face to face


intimately; in private

Word Origin for tête-à-tête

C17: from French, literally: head to head
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 tete-a-tete

"a private meeting," French, tête-à-tête, literally "head-to-head," from Old French teste "head" (see tester (n.2)). The adjective, "privately," is recorded from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tete-a-tete in Culture



An intimate meeting or conversation between two individuals. From French, meaning “head to head.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.