Definition of tête-à-tête in US English:



  • 1A private conversation between two people.

    • ‘As Drew got too loud to ignore, Alana glared at him, obviously frustrated that he was interrupting the planned tête-à-tête with Romeo.’
    • ‘Jean's reveries in the first half hour remain largely colorless and cold, whereas color most often figures in their scenes together, and eventually takes over the film as their tête-à-tête intensifies.’
    • ‘I also tried to ignore the fact that he and Courtney had just had a little tête-à-tête that seemed to end poorly.’
    • ‘Adrian Mutu, until recently a favourite for disposal, earned a reprieve when he spoke of his desire to prove himself in a tête-à-tête with his new manager over breakfast yesterday.’
    • ‘She smiled intimately as though we'd settled in front of the fire for a tête-à-tête.’
    • ‘Just then Benny and the gang appeared through the gigantic garage door for the warehouse, which ended Taylor and Joy's tête-à-tête as soon as it started.’
    • ‘In short, their presence would be an inglorious end to our little tête-à-tête.’
    • ‘If 222 is perfect for romantic tête-à-têtes and intimate celebrations, it's because sometimes elegant food and perfect presentation just aren't enough.’
    • ‘For the next ten minutes, Jocelyn just watched the conversation between Nova and Jackie grew from small chitchat to a long and interesting tête-à-tête.’
    • ‘He may think that he has control in their tête-à-têtes, but Catherine never is anything but in dominance.’
    • ‘Usually he would have noted the conversation down; however he felt that this little tête-à-tête would be one he wasn't going to forget easily.’
    • ‘During her hour-long tête-à-tête, the sensitive actress reveals that her idol is P.T.Usha and that she would have been an athlete if it had not been acting.’
    • ‘When Jerry arrives for a visit he interrupts Lucy in the midst of a tête-à-tête with gentleman caller Dan Leeson.’
    • ‘‘He told me he hoped he could persuade me,’ Schumer told reporters after an hour-long tête-à-tête with Roberts.’
    • ‘Then after their little tête-à-tête on her lawn, he felt as though he might be in love with her.’
    • ‘Mona mentioned nothing about her little tête-à-tête with Seth.’
    • ‘Our tête-à-tête was interrupted by someone calling me.’
    • ‘C.R. Gopinathan, one of the few people who has helped popularise classical music in this city, shares his thoughts on music, singers and the city's audience in a tête-à-tête with Subha J. Rao.’
    • ‘Alas, Jack's tête-à-tête with Gretchen was interrupted before he had a chance to say a single word to her.’
    • ‘But these tête-à-têtes with Simon Woods, new chief executive, and Julian de St Croix, head of planning, are crucial to the future of Scotland's national symphony orchestra.’
    conversation, chat, cosy chat, talk, heart-to-heart, one-on-one, one-to-one
    View synonyms
  • 2An S-shaped sofa on which two people can sit face to face.

    • ‘A mid-nineteenth-century French form, the tête-à-tête, also known as a confident, was well-suited to the parlor as its two chairs facing in opposite directions and joined at the sides allowed for discreet conversation.’
    • ‘The graceful, sinuous shape of this tête-à-tête illustrates the importance of lamination and epitomizes the Rococo Revival style.’

adverb & adjective

  • Involving or happening between two people in private.

    as adjective ‘a tête-à-tête meal’
    as adverb ‘his business was conducted tête-à-tête’
    • ‘It is important to meet tête-à-tête to understand what kind of people they are and to feel how they see cooperation.’
    privately, in private
    View synonyms


Late 17th century: French, literally ‘head-to-head’.