[ tuh-noh ]

noun,plural ton·neaus, ton·neaux [tuh-nohz]. /tʌˈnoʊz/.
  1. a rear part or compartment of an automobile body, containing seats for passengers.

  2. a complete automobile body having such a rear part.

  1. a waterproof cover, generally of canvas or vinyl, that can be fastened over the cockpit of a roadster or convertible to protect the interior.

Origin of tonneau

1900–05; <French: literally, cask; Old French tonel. See tunnel

Words Nearby tonneau Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use tonneau in a sentence

  • The fleshy woman climbed into the tonneau and held the still shrieking girl.

  • There was a crash, and they found themselves in the bottom of the tonneau.

    The Girl and The Bill | Bannister Merwin
  • He was jolted considerably, although no particular damage was done, and got into the tonneau with a wild scramble.

    Motor Matt's Mystery | Stanley R. Matthews
  • Thoughtfully he tossed the two bundles of laundry into the tonneau, walked around in front and opened the bonnet.

    Motor Matt's Mystery | Stanley R. Matthews
  • Getting into the tonneau, Matt searched for something that would offer a clue to the mystery.

    Motor Matt's Mystery | Stanley R. Matthews

British Dictionary definitions for tonneau


/ (ˈtɒnəʊ) /

nounplural -neaus or -neaux (-nəʊ, -nəʊz)
  1. Also called: tonneau cover

    • a detachable cover to protect the rear part of an open car when it is not carrying passengers

    • a similar cover that fits over all the passenger seats, but not the driver's, in an open vehicle

  2. rare the part of an open car in which the rear passengers sit

Origin of tonneau

C20: from French: special type of vehicle body, from Old French tonnel cask, from tonne tun

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