One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The part of an automobile, typically an open car, occupied by the back seats.
- 1.1short for tonneau cover
- ‘But I do suspect that it is the tonneau that is causing the rattling noise I am experiencing while on the move!’
- ‘The luggage bay is covered by a retractable tonneau, and optional cargo nets prevent smaller objects from being battered during spirited cornering.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Lift the top approximately 8 in., press the button on the center console and the hard tonneau opens up.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Composite inserts at the forward edge of the tonneau hide the mechanicals when the top is down.’
Late 18th century (in tonneau (sense 2 of the noun)): French, literally ‘cask, tun’.
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