Definitions

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

  • noun A vivid or graphic description.
  • noun A striking incidental scene, as of a picturesque group of people.
  • noun An interlude during a scene when all the performers on stage freeze in position and then resume action as before.
  • noun A tableau vivant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A picture, or a picturesque presentation; specifically, in English use, a picturesque grouping of persons and objects, or of either alone; a living picture. See tableau vivant, below.
  • noun In French law, a table or schedule; a showing; a list; a statement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A striking and vivid representation; a picture.
  • noun A representation of some scene by means of persons grouped in the proper manner, placed in appropriate postures, and remaining silent and motionless.
  • noun (Solitaire) The arrangement, or layout, of cards.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A striking and vivid representation; a picture.
  • noun A vivid graphic scene of a group of people arranged as in a painting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun any dramatic scene
  • noun a group of people attractively arranged (as if in a painting)

Etymologies

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

[French, from Old French tablel, diminutive of table, surface prepared for painting; see table.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French tableau, from Old French tablel ("a surface which is used primarily for painting").

Examples

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