Definition of table in US English:



  • 1A piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed, and that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, working, or playing games.

    • ‘He made occasional furniture pieces such as tables and chairs, as well as picture frames.’
    • ‘Finally reaching an empty table by the window, she sat down hastily.’
    • ‘In the middle of each room was a low table with a vase of fresh flowers on it.’
    • ‘She looked up as Rachel arrived back at the table, holding a piece of paper in her hands.’
    • ‘He washed dishes and set the tables at a restaurant when he was a junior university student.’
    • ‘Also in the room was a table with chairs and two small dressers.’
    • ‘Eventually, she resolved to hold her wrist down to the table so that her writing would be legible.’
    • ‘I'll ask them to reserve the table next to us, if you want.’
    • ‘Buffy came back up in a fighting stance holding a splintered piece of the table out in front of her.’
    • ‘There was a large marble table in the middle, surrounded by ten chairs.’
    • ‘We were crowded around a single, circular lunch table in the cafeteria.’
    • ‘I sat at an empty table in the corner, sunglasses still on.’
    • ‘The woodwork in the show includes large furniture items like tables, benches and screens as well as plates, letters openers and wine corkstoppers.’
    • ‘His eyes glittered as we approached the table laden with creams, cakes, pies, and other delectable delicacies.’
    • ‘Mike leaned back in a folding chair behind a small round table in the corner.’
    • ‘You can use standard outdoor furniture or built-in tables and chairs, or carry pieces from inside the house for special occasions.’
    • ‘Around the edges of the room were pieces of furniture like tables and a few chairs.’
    • ‘We got one loaf ourselves, and had one piece at a table right outside of the bakery.’
    • ‘Dropping her spoon with a clatter, Hope reached across the table to take the piece of paper from her sister.’
    • ‘Usually four students are placed at a large table, or four individual tables or desks pushed together.’
    bench, board, work surface, worktop, counter, desk, bar, buffet, stand, workbench, worktable, top, horizontal surface, surface
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    1. 1.1in singular Food provided in a restaurant or household.
      ‘he was reputed to have the finest French table of the time’
      meal, food, fare, diet, board, menu, nourishment, nutriment
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    2. 1.2 A group seated at table for a meal.
      ‘the whole table was in gales of laughter’
      • ‘In the end, the table settled on getting a jug of red lemonade and a jug of water.’
      • ‘Some tables kept looking at me, for some reason, maybe it was my head.’
      • ‘Everyone at the table seemed to instantly get up, and soon other tables followed suit.’
      • ‘After he left we discovered that he had insisted on paying for the meal for the whole table.’
    3. 1.3the table A meeting place or forum for formal discussions held to settle an issue or dispute.
      ‘the negotiating table’
      • ‘The ultimate goal for activists is to be invited to the table of the G8 meetings.’
      • ‘Let's just hope that he's not sitting round the table for the negotiations about the forthcoming strike.’
      • ‘We should either launch a military attack or else go to the table and negotiate.’
      • ‘Alberta said from the beginning the province should be at the table as Kyoto was negotiated.’
      • ‘The eighteen who were left held our own meeting around the Council table.’
      • ‘I think we need to get people back to the table, back into discussions, begin to look at where we are.’
      • ‘There are a few factors that may be compelling India to talk about bringing the Kashmir issue to the table earlier rather than later.’
      • ‘None sitting around the table have left the union as a result of the dispute and they can think of only a handful who have.’
      • ‘The players' priority is to stay at the table and work out reasonable ways to address all the issues.’
      • ‘The Crown cannot force them to come to the table, negotiate, and reach resolutions.’
      • ‘Both sides are to return to the table next week to resolve a number of outstanding peripheral issues.’
      • ‘Oh, they told him he could still come in and sit at the conference table in the meeting room if he liked.’
      • ‘Then after a few weeks, the two sides would return to the negotiating table to discuss the issues that divide them.’
      • ‘Pragmatically, one needs to secure a space at the table before one can negotiate.’
      • ‘The mayor had to leave early, but he asked me to bring a couple issues to the table.’
      • ‘Bring your issues to the table so we can ail work on them together, presenting a united front.’
      • ‘He stormed out from the table and the meeting was concluded with dissatisfaction.’
      • ‘If you have got a voice at the table, then those sorts of issues will actually determine and steer the way that promotion processes develop.’
      • ‘The unions will not sit at the table together and negotiate.’
      • ‘He said the only way to deal with serious issues was to sit around the table and negotiate.’
    4. 1.4Bridge in singular The dummy hand (which is exposed on the table)
      ‘they made the hand easily with the aid of a club ruff on the table’
  • 2A set of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns.

    ‘the population has grown, as shown in table 1’
    ‘a table of contents’
    • ‘The first column of the table indicates the signs of the zodiac.’
    • ‘The second column in the table shows the rental index from the consumer price index.’
    • ‘Numerous charts, tables and figures are used to advantage throughout the book.’
    • ‘This chart shows the relationships in the rightmost column of the previous table.’
    • ‘For a detailed summary of the evidence on each herb, see the accompanying table on page 1840.’
    • ‘He has a sophisticated program on the screen with the company logo and you see a list of all the shops' sales figures done in a table.’
    • ‘She lays it out in a table indicating in one column the story a reader might find in a first reading.’
    • ‘Figures, tables, and glossaries of terms promote an understanding of the materials presented.’
    • ‘The analogy that the argument posits thus falls nicely into a table with two columns and three rows.’
    • ‘A number of excellent tables, figures and flow charts are included for clinicians to use in practice.’
    • ‘Once you have that number, you simply use the look-up tables to figure out what your income tax is.’
    • ‘This is shown by an increasing gradient of intervention down the columns of the table for all patient and hospital groups.’
    • ‘Throughout the text useful diagrams and tables illustrate the content of the text.’
    • ‘While the text seems choppy at times due to an effort to cover so much material, the many figures, tables and graphs supplement the material well.’
    • ‘The abundance of figures, tables, charts, and examples help make the research results more understandable.’
    • ‘Joel has a couple of tables of figures showing stock comparisons, one from last week, and one from two years ago.’
    • ‘This section includes many thoughtful hypotheses that are backed up by clearly illustrated tables and figures.’
    • ‘Numerous figures and tables and a detailed index serve to enhance this slender volume even more.’
    • ‘You should be able to put all your marketing pieces on a table and see that they go together.’
    • ‘We, too, still love glossy printed pages with beautifully laid out figures, tables, and illustrations.’
    list, chart, diagram, figure, graph, plan
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    1. 2.1Computing A collection of data stored in memory as a series of records, each defined by a unique key stored with it.
      • ‘An example would be retro viruses that attack antivirus software by deleting virus definition tables or memory resident scanners.’
      • ‘To this end, I created a new database to store the tables.’
      • ‘Of course, this means that we must first have an appropriate table defined in our database.’
      • ‘Information on how addresses are translated is kept in a set of page tables stored in main memory.’
      • ‘Database systems will seamlessly read the tables created by database systems from other vendors.’
  • 3Architecture
    A flat, typically rectangular, vertical surface.

    1. 3.1 A horizontal molding, especially a cornice.
    2. 3.2 A slab of wood or stone bearing an inscription.
    3. 3.3 A flat surface of a gem.
    4. 3.4 A cut gem with two flat faces.
    5. 3.5 Each half or quarter of a folding board for backgammon.


[with object]
  • 1US Postpone consideration of.

    ‘I'd like the issue to be tabled for the next few months’
    • ‘The Monroeville Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezoning, but Monroeville Council tabled the application.’
    • ‘The proposal was tabled until the next meeting to allow the task force time to clearly define how the percentages would be determined.’
    • ‘I would guess that any ‘reformation’ of the State department is tabled until after 2004.’
    • ‘I move that that issue be tabled, that we may select a new First Councilor.’
    • ‘The abduction issue would be tabled if bilateral talks are resumed possibly later this month.’
    • ‘We tabled the project, but remained on very good speaking terms.’
    • ‘That matter has itself gotten a hearing from the board, which has dragged its feet on the question and tabled it for now.’
    • ‘Following Council's usual practice, this motion was tabled, to be considered with other financial commitments at the end of the meeting.’
    • ‘I'm tabling the decisions for the moment.’
    • ‘Supervisors were set to vote to adopt the ordinance Monday but tabled the item after at least 20 massage therapists turned out for last night's meeting.’
    • ‘The plan was tabled only after a community outcry; the district has announced that it will hold a series of public forums on the subject.’
    • ‘The motion passed, and discussion on the remaining proposed amendments was tabled until the November meeting.’
    • ‘The decision has been tabled until completion, later this year, of the current reconstruction of the course.’
    postpone, put off, delay, defer, put back, hold off, hold over, carry over, reschedule, do later, shelve, stand over, pigeonhole, hold in abeyance, put in abeyance, mothball
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  • 2British Present formally for discussion or consideration at a meeting.

    ‘an MP tabled an amendment to the bill’
    • ‘When do you expect to see the final report actually tabled in Parliament?’
    • ‘The Youth Club proposal did not work and he was now tabling another solution.’
    • ‘The team of management consultants at that meeting tabled a report.’
    • ‘The next provincial budget will be tabled on February 15, 2005.’
    • ‘Proposals for structural reshuffles were also tabled at the meeting.’
    • ‘A council report containing scorecards on the municipality's efforts was tabled at a council meeting on Tuesday.’
    • ‘He was given the news when he telephoned the council, ahead of the July meeting at which the matter was tabled for discussion.’
    • ‘Provincial budgets must be tabled in legislatures within 15 days of the national Budget being tabled.’
    • ‘The discussions tabled during the meeting focused on creating a more unique festival atmosphere specific to Pattaya and reducing the time frame of the event.’
    • ‘Plans for the reception centres are expected to be tabled at a meeting of the British, Italian, Spanish, French and German justice ministers in Florence in October.’
    • ‘The same sources emphasise that the American has not yet formally tabled any bid for any further shares, never mind the Irish pair's vast holding.’
    • ‘The panel's report, to be tabled at Wednesday's meeting of the legislature, is based on evidence from 73 witnesses at 30 hearings held since December.’
    • ‘MPs will be able to table amendments to the bill before its detailed consideration in the new year, before it goes to the House of Lords.’
    • ‘Well, the Auditor-General's report was tabled yesterday.’
    • ‘They also tabled a motion that real estate tax be revoked.’
    • ‘The amended by-laws will be tabled before the council's Portfolio Committees during May.’
    • ‘The cola report isn't formally tabled, but no heads will roll for this menace to public health.’
    • ‘All the information that I have, and know of, I tabled yesterday afternoon.’
    • ‘Proposals will be tabled today to get Colchester's community stadium off the ground.’
    • ‘When a document is tabled in parliament, there is no obligation on journalists to give a balanced account.’
    submit, put forward, bring forward, propose, suggest, move, enter, lodge, file, introduce, air, moot, lay
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  • lay something on the table

    • 1Make something known so that it can be freely and sensibly discussed.

      • ‘Well, I suppose there's nothing like laying your trivia on the table at the outset so that anyone who's not up for some girlie chat can go put some shelves up in the kitchen.’
      • ‘He said every trader is prepared to lay their accounts on the table for inspection by the judge which was significant because similar cases were lost before elsewhere simply because only one trader was bringing action.’
      • ‘If so-called public interest groups or non-profit corporations are accepting corporate money, lay it on the table.’
      • ‘In other words, the opposition has laid our bona fides on the table and we have done that right here in the chamber during the committee debate.’
      • ‘You just lay it on the table… what you like and what you want more of.’
      • ‘Death of a Superhero lays its credentials on the table as a novel of self-affirmation and self-belief.’
      • ‘‘It is time to start laying the facts on the table,’ he said.’
      • ‘In an odd sense, sir, is this some progress in your mind, that they are finally laying the charges on the table?’
      • ‘The process has to reveal the total capability provided by every program and lay the facts on the table for all to see.’
      • ‘Thus, they called this hearing to lay the issue on the table for discussion.’
    • 2Postpone something indefinitely.

  • on the table

    • Offered for discussion.

      ‘our offer remains on the table’
      • ‘The proposal on the table would cut production workers' pay from about $27 an hour to $22 an hour on July 3.’
      • ‘Several clubs have been in touch and there are already a number of offers on the table.’
      • ‘He has given the council until the end of the month to put a plan of action on the table.’
      • ‘In fact I am the only British leader that has ever said I would put the rebate on the table.’
      • ‘They should simply take a big deep breath and adopt a number of the proposals now on the table.’
      • ‘The letter said you have seven days in which to sign, or the offer will not be on the table.’
      • ‘I can deny that there are any proposals on the table and there is not likely to be, not at this stage.’
      • ‘Workers have been offered a hefty redundancy package as part of a deal already on the table.’
      • ‘I did have my chance to go, the chairman told me there were two or three offers on the table.’
      • ‘If they have an alternative they should be coming forward and putting it on the table.’
  • turn the tables

    • Reverse one's position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage.

      ‘police invited householders to a seminar on how to turn the tables on burglars’
      • ‘But her kindness turns the tables on her cruel master.’
      • ‘Instead the operator turns the tables on the subscriber.’
      • ‘In effect, less powerful countries have an increased ability to obstruct the major powers, but they are in no position to turn the tables.’
      • ‘Having absorbed your comments on the state of journalism, I'm turning the tables.’
      • ‘He times it carefully, and quickly turns the tables on the hermit, pressing his attack and his advantage.’
      • ‘I think we're turning the tables on you, Howard.’
      • ‘Just when the book seems about to cross the border into out-and-out sadism, however, Elizabeth turns the tables on her stalker and strikes a blow for women everywhere.’
      • ‘So researchers turned the tables on the cancer, taking advantage of a tumor's ability to attract the stem cells.’
      • ‘Very often these games involve him turning the tables on us.’
      • ‘She was tired of men taking open advantage of women and decided to turn the tables.’
  • under the table

    • 1Very drunk.

      ‘by 3:30 everybody was under the table’
      intoxicated, inebriated, drunken, befuddled, incapable, tipsy, the worse for drink, under the influence, maudlin
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    • 2(especially of making a payment) secretly or covertly.

      ‘he accepted a slew of payoffs under the table’
  • at table

    • Seated at a table eating a meal.

      • ‘Sometime before I leave I will sit at table, in the middle of dinner with 80 people, I will be tired and grumpy and bored with conversation and I will tip my head back, open my mouth, and scream.’
      • ‘The woman who bathed Jesus' feet with her tears got the point; the men sitting at table with him didn't.’
      • ‘‘Give us a lick of yon jam,’ is a request regularly heard at table.’
      • ‘What stories might you tell of young people at table?’
      • ‘How one acts at table is how one prepares for God's sovereignty.’
      • ‘But the origin of the singerie as a distinct genre is usually attributed to Claude Audran, who in 1709 painted an arbour with monkeys seated at table for the Château de Marly.’
      • ‘Although Jesus sits at table with Pharisees at various times throughout the journey, teaching and preaching, it is the powerful whom he is rebuking.’
      • ‘I can't help hoping that the guest-leaders, seated at table in Okinawa, might read these words and ponder whom they are being hosted by.’
      • ‘First this: my thoughts are with all those people who will not have a loved one with them at table, in bed, in the classroom or at their side tomorrow.’
      • ‘In a similar vein, it is not entirely whimsical that at table we acknowledge with thanks the animal and vegetable life that makes possible our meal.’


Old English tabule ‘flat slab, inscribed tablet’, from Latin tabula ‘plank, tablet, list’, reinforced in Middle English by Old French table.