from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An article of furniture supported by one or more vertical legs and having a flat horizontal surface.
  • noun The objects laid out for a meal on this article of furniture.
  • noun The food and drink served at meals; fare.
  • noun The company of people assembled around a table, as for a meal.
  • noun Either of the leaves of a backgammon board.
  • noun Obsolete The game of backgammon.
  • noun A plateau or tableland.
  • noun A flat facet cut across the top of a precious stone.
  • noun A stone or gem cut in this fashion.
  • noun The front part of the body of a stringed instrument.
  • noun The sounding board of a harp.
  • noun A raised or sunken rectangular panel on a wall.
  • noun A raised horizontal surface or continuous band on an exterior wall; a stringcourse.
  • noun A part of the human palm framed by four lines, analyzed in palmistry.
  • noun An orderly arrangement of data, especially one in which the data are arranged in columns and rows in an essentially rectangular form.
  • noun An abbreviated list, as of contents; a synopsis.
  • noun An engraved slab or tablet bearing an inscription or device.
  • noun Anatomy The inner or outer flat layer of bones of the skull separated by the diploe.
  • noun A system of laws or decrees; a code.
  • transitive verb To put or place on a table.
  • transitive verb To postpone consideration of (a piece of legislation, for example); shelve.
  • transitive verb To enter in a list or table; tabulate.
  • idiom (on the table) Up for discussion.
  • idiom (on the table) Put aside for consideration at a later date.
  • idiom (under the table) In secret.
  • idiom (under the table) Into a completely intoxicated state.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A flat or flattish and relatively thin piece of wood, stone, metal, or other hard substance; a board; a plate; a slab.
  • noun Specifically— A slab, plate, or panel of some solid material with one surface (rarely both surfaces) smooth or polished for some purpose, used either separately or as part of a structural combination. This sense is now chiefly obsolete, except in some historical or special cases: as, the tables of the law; the table (mensa) of an altar. A board or panel on which a picture was painted was formerly called a table, and also a board on which a game, as draughts or checkers, was played; the two leaves of a backgammon-board are called tables—the outer and inner (or home) tables. See def. 7 .
  • noun A votive tablet.
  • noun In anatomy, one of the two laminæ (outer and inner) of any of the cranial bones, separated from each other, except in the thinnest parts, by the spongy or cellular diploe. They are composed of compact bony tissue; the inner table is close-grained, shiny, and brittle (whence it is called the vitrcous table). Also called tablet. See tablature, 5.
  • noun In glass-making: One of the disks or circular plates into which crown-glass is formed from the molten metal by blowing, rolling, and flashing. The plates are usually about four and a half feet in diameter, though sometimes much larger.
  • noun The flat plate with a raised rim on which plate-glass is formed.
  • noun In mech., that part of a machine-tool on which work is placed to be operated upon. It is adjustable in height, is free to move laterally or otherwise, and is perforated with slots for the clamps which secure the article to be treated. Also called carriage and platen.
  • noun In weaving, the board or bar in a draw-loom to which the tails of the harness are attached.
  • noun An article of furniture consisting of a flat top (the table proper), of wood, stone, or other solid material, resting on legs or on a pillar, with or without connecting framework; in specific use, a piece of furniture with a flat top on which meals are served, articles of use or ornament are placed, or some occupation is carried on: as, a dining-table, writing-table, work-table, kitchen-table; a billiard-table a tailors' cutting-table; a surgeons' operating-table.
  • noun Used absolutely, the board at or round which persons sit at meals; a table for refection or entertainment: as, to set the table (to place the cloth and dishes on it for a meal); to sit long at table.
  • noun Figuratively— That which is placed upon a table for refreshment; provision of food at meals; refection; fare; also, entertainment at table.
  • noun A company at table, as at a dinner; a group of persons gathered round a table, as for whist or other games.
  • noun In a limited use, a body of persons sitting, or regarded as sitting, round a table in some official capacity; an official board.
  • noun A thin plate or sheet of wood, ivory, or other material for writing on; a tablet; in the plural, a memorandum-book.
  • noun A flat or plane surface like that of a table; a level area; a plateau.
  • noun Specifically— A level plot of ground; a garden-bed, or the like.
  • noun In perspective, same as perspective plane. See perspective, n.
  • noun In architecture: A flat surface forming a distinct feature in a wall, generally rectangular and charged with some ornamental design or figure. When it projects beyond the general surface of the wall, it is termed a raised or projecting table; when it is not perpendicular to the horizon, it is called a raking table; and when the surface is rough, frosted, or vermiculated, it is called a rusticated table.
  • noun A horizontal molding on the exterior or interior face of a wall, placed at various levels, which crowns basements, separates the stories of a building, or its upper parts; a string-course.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin tabula, board.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English table, tabel, tabil, tabul, from Old English tabele, tabul, tablu, tabule, tabula, ("table, board"; also as tæfl, tæfel), from *tabla, *tabula (“table, board”), an early Germanic borrowing of Latin tabula ("tablet, board, plank, chart"). Reinforced in Middle English by Old French table, from the same Latin source.


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  • The trouble with the peace table is that the Allies want it _à la carte_, and Wilson wants it American plan -- _table d'hôte_.

    More Toasts Marion Dix [Editor] Mosher

  • DAN _sits on the left of the table, where "East Lynne" is open on the table_.

    Night Must Fall : a Play in Three Acts Emlyn Williams 1946

  • And to think that I actually sat on that table -- no, that seat (_he points to the settee_ R., _then he moves up stage between it and the table_) -- that I sat there with him this morning, and never guessed!

    Belinda 1919

  • (_Crossing up to smoking - table up_ R., _and filling his pipe which he finds on table_.)

    Mr. Pim Passes By 1919

  • DELIA (_at table and leaning across, with hands on table_).

    Belinda 1919

  • HELEN O'NEILL _seated above table; _ MISS EASTWOOD _seated below console table_ R. _end of chesterfield; _ ROSALIE _seated_ C. _chesterfield; _

    The Thirteenth Chair Bayard Veiller 1906

  • It would not be pleasant, certainly, to sit for an hour at a big empty table, ordering dishes fit only for epicures, and then, just as the waiters bore down with the Little Neck clams, so nicely iced and so cool and bitter-looking, to have to rise and go out into the street to a _table d'hôte_ around the corner.

    Van Bibber and Others Richard Harding Davis 1890

  • Jerome and other Fathers called the communion bread -- _little body_, and the communion table -- _mystical table_; the latter, in allusion to the heathen and early Christian mysteries, and the former, in reference to the children sacrificed at the Agapae.

    The Freethinker's Text Book, Part II. Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History Annie Wood Besant 1890

  • Each table in our room had a superb _surtout de table_ in silver, and silver drinking-cups worthy of a museum.

    The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912 1886

  • Pierre at first failed to distinguish anything, but, when he was installed at the little table -- a garden-table which had been brought indoors for the occasion, and on which there was scarcely room for two covers -- he felt quite upset, almost sick, in fact, at the sight presented by the _table d'hote_, which his glance now enfiladed from end to end.

    The Three Cities Trilogy: Lourdes, Complete ��mile Zola 1871


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  • "Let's table it" is to "put it on the back burner". Table is an autoantonym: table an offer (present it) v. table, withdraw.

    May 1, 2010

  • "The large flat facet on the top of a brilliant-cut stone. See brilliant (with cut)." --CD&C

    May 21, 2012

  • He/she knows his/her tables - said of a child who can instantly and reliably give the answer to, usually, simple multiplication processes, eg, 9 x 6 = 54, or 7 x 8 = 56. The multiplication table needs to be learned by rote, usually by the aid of chanting.

    May 21, 2012