Definition of tonneau in English:



  • 1The part of a car, typically an open car, occupied by the back seats.

    ‘I sat rigidly in the tonneau of an asthmatic 1956 Chevrolet’
    1. 1.1
      short for tonneau cover
      • ‘Composite inserts at the forward edge of the tonneau hide the mechanicals when the top is down.’
      • ‘But I do suspect that it is the tonneau that is causing the rattling noise I am experiencing while on the move!’
      • ‘Among the application areas that he thinks the process can be used for include exterior body panels of a wide assortment: vehicle hard tops, hard tonneaus, recreational vehicle and heavy truck sidewalls, and the like.’
      • ‘Lift the top approximately 8 in., press the button on the center console and the hard tonneau opens up.’
      • ‘It clicks into place when folded, and the front part of the roof forms a flat cover so there's no need for a fiddly separate tonneau.’
      • ‘The only thing that has developed over the months is an irritating squeak from the rear interior; we think it may be from the tonneau but we have failed to pin it down so far.’
      • ‘The luggage bay is covered by a retractable tonneau, and optional cargo nets prevent smaller objects from being battered during spirited cornering.’
  • 2A unit of capacity for French wine, especially Bordeaux, usually equal to 900 litres or 198 gallons.


Late 18th century (in tonneau (sense 2 of the noun)): French, literally ‘cask, tun’.