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tableau

[ta-bloh, tab-loh] /tæˈbloʊ, ˈtæb loʊ/
noun, plural tableaux
[ta-blohz, tab-lohz] /tæˈbloʊz, ˈtæb loʊz/ (Show IPA),
tableaus.
1.
a picture, as of a scene.
2.
a picturesque grouping of persons or objects; a striking scene.
3.
a representation of a picture, statue, scene, etc., by one or more persons suitably costumed and posed.
4.
Solitaire. the portion of a layout to which one may add cards according to suit or denomination.
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700; < French: board, picture, Middle French tablel, diminutive of table table
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tableaux
  • The museum has re-purposed the mill by recreating tableaux of home and work in an industrial community.
  • Some composed careful tableaux of empty clothing and abandoned dinners.
  • Scintillating tales, elevated wisdom against rarefied tableaux.
  • Tonight is red night, and all the window tableaux have something to do with red.
  • The chapters are a succession of tableaux, all admirably posed.
  • She'd spent seven years taking pictures of abandoned buildings and other derelict tableaux.
  • They're not half as fascinating as his photographs, which are densely composed and collaged tableaux.
  • The technique works, but some may find the tableaux approach somewhat oblique.
  • Huge and rather garish tableaux come alive in sequences choreographed with commentary.
  • Rosenthal's inspiring tableaux has since become one of our best known best-known works of patriotic art.
British Dictionary definitions for tableaux

tableau

/ˈtæbləʊ/
noun (pl) -leaux (-ləʊ; -ləʊz), -leaus
2.
a pause during or at the end of a scene on stage when all the performers briefly freeze in position
3.
any dramatic group or scene
4.
(logic) short for semantic tableau
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Old French tablel a picture, diminutive of table
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tableaux

tableau

n.

1690s, "a picturesque or graphic description or picture," from French tableau "picture, painting," from Old French table "slab, writing tablet" (see table (n.)) + diminutive suffix -eau, from Latin -ellus. Hence tableau-vivant (1817) "person or persons silent and motionless, enacting a well-known scene, incident, painting, etc.," popular 19c. parlor game, literally "living picture."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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