Word of the Day – Wednesday, July 24th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


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A long backless sofa
Common clues:
Backless sofa; Parlor piece; Armless couch; Cushioned piece of furniture; Place to recline
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Frequency in English language: 29610 / 86800
Divan trailer

Photo courtesy Reynold Rodriguez

A divan (Turkish divan, originally from Persian devan) is a piece of couch-like sitting furniture; or in the UK, a box-spring based bed.

Primarily, in the Middle East (especially the Ottoman Empire), a divan was a long seat formed of a mattress laid against the side of the room, upon the floor, or upon a raised structure or frame, with cushions to lean against.

Divans received this name because they were generally found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers of a bureau called divan or diwan (from Persian, meaning a government council or office, from the bundles of papers they processed, and next their council chambers). Divans are a common feature of the liwan, a long vaulted narrow room in Levantine homes. The sofa/couch sense was taken into English in 1702.

The divan in this sense has been commonly known in Europe since about the middle of the 18th century. It was fashionable, roughly from 1820 to 1850, wherever the romantic movement in literature penetrated. All the boudoirs of that generation were garnished with divans. They even spread to coffee-houses, which were sometimes known as divans or Turkish divans, and a cigar divan remains a familiar expression.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Divan".