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Turn the tables reverse one's position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage. Until the mid 18th century, tables was the usual name for the boardgame backgammon, and early (mid 17th-century) uses of the phrase make it clear that it comes from the turning of the board so that a player has to play the opponent's position.

See also drink someone under the table.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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