- a rear part or compartment of an automobile body, containing seats for passengers.
- a complete automobile body having such a rear part.
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tonneau
He bestowed his companion in the tonneau and ensconced himself beside her.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
Then the young man in the tonneau took charge of the conversation.
The girl in the tonneau swept aside her veil and looked, as directed.
The man caught him under the arms and tossed him into the tonneau of a limousine at the curb.The Mind Master
Arthur J. Burks
Peter admitted that he was and the boy swung the door of the tonneau open.The Vagrant Duke
- 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
- rare the part of an open car in which the rear passengers sit
C20: from French: special type of vehicle body, from Old French tonnel cask, from tonne tun
Word Origin and History for tonneau
1901 as a part of an automobile, from French tonneau, literally "cask, tun." (see tun).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper