Sunday, May 08, 2016

Just Call It A Couch!

Mike from Cadillac called in a question that has come up before: why is a certain piece of furniture called a davenport? My immediate thought was that it must have been manufactured in Davenport, Iowa, but I was mistaken. It has all sorts of cousins.

davenport:   A type of large, upholstered couch or sofa which may be convertible into a bed.  [Probably from the maker’s name]

couch:    An article of furniture for reclining or sitting on. [L. to put in place]

sofa:    A long, stuffed seat with a back and ends or end, used for reclining; a form of lounge or couch.  [Arabic: a part of the floor raised a foot or two, covered with rich carpets and cushions, and used for sitting upon]

divan:     Now usually, a low bed or couch with no back or ends. [Persian: a cushioned bench]

settee:    A seat holding two or more persons, with a back and arms.  [Perhaps a fanciful variation of settle, a place to sit]

chesterfield:    A stuffed couch or sofa with a back and upright arms. [Ostentatiously named after an Earl of Chesterfield, though he probably had nothing to do with it]

lounge:    A kind of sofa or easy chair on which one can lie at full length. [Origin obscure]

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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