n. & v.
1. a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface for eating, writing, or working at, playing games on, etc.
2 a flat surface serving a specified purpose (altar table; bird table).
3 a food provided in a household (keeps a good table). b a group seated at table for dinner etc.
4 a a set of facts or figures systematically displayed, esp. in columns (a table of contents). b matter contained in this. c multiplication table.
5 a flat surface for working on or for machinery to operate on.
6 a a slab of wood or stone etc. for bearing an inscription. b matter inscribed on this.
8 Archit. a a flat usu. rectangular vertical surface. b a horizontal moulding, esp. a cornice.
9 a a flat surface of a gem. b a cut gem with two flat faces.
10 each half or quarter of a folding board for backgammon.
11 (prec. by the) Bridge the dummy hand.
1. bring forward for discussion or consideration at a meeting.
2 postpone consideration of (a matter).
3 Naut. strengthen (a sail) with a wide hem.
Phrases and idioms:
at table taking a meal at a table. lay on the table
1. submit for discussion.
2 postpone indefinitely. on the table offered for discussion. table knife a knife for use at meals, esp. in eating a main course. table licence a licence to serve alcoholic drinks only with meals. table linen tablecloths, napkins, etc. table manners decorum or correct behaviour while eating at table. table-mat a mat for protecting a tabletop from hot dishes, etc. table salt salt that is powdered or easy to powder for use at meals. table talk miscellaneous informal talk at table. table tennis an indoor game based on lawn tennis, played with small bats and a ball bounced on a table divided by a net. table wine ordinary wine for drinking with a meal. turn the tables (often foll. by on) reverse one's relations (with), esp. by turning an inferior into a superior position (orig. in backgammon). under the table colloq. drunken after a meal.
tableful n. (pl. -fuls). tabling n.
Etymology: ME f. OF f. L tabula plank, tablet, list