One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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’
- 1.1short for tonneau cover
- ‘Composite inserts at the forward edge of the tonneau hide the mechanicals when the top is down.’
- ‘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 luggage bay is covered by a retractable tonneau, and optional cargo nets prevent smaller objects from being battered during spirited cornering.’
- ‘Lift the top approximately 8 in., press the button on the center console and the hard tonneau opens up.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But I do suspect that it is the tonneau that is causing the rattling noise I am experiencing while on the move!’
- ‘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.’
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’.
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