One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A European railroad car with seats convertible into sleeping berths.
- ‘We had couchettes (lie down chairs) on this train, but I slept poorly because of all the stops we were making.’
- ‘To avoid hotel bills, we took overnight trains and booked couchettes.’
- ‘It has yet to install couchette carriages and, after several failed attempts to fall asleep in their seats, most people head for the on-train bar and drink the night away.’
- ‘At Belgrade I was left looking after the luggage while my husband went off to organize a couchette or wagon-lit for the rest of the journey.’
- ‘Once again this entailed another overnight train journey enjoying the couchettes.’
- 1.1 A berth in a couchette.
- ‘To avoid the hard-seat alternative, you have to do a quick deal with a guard before getting on the train - a little like booking a last-minute couchette in Europe.’
- ‘I opted for the three-bed couchette, as opposed to the two, as I'm always slightly paranoid of being alone with someone on the European trains.’
- ‘The company takes off on the sleeper - cue for much squabbling among the bunk-hopping young lovers as to who sleeps with whom in which couchette - which makes a timely departure in a convincing billow of smoke.’
- ‘Sleeping on overnight trains is common (though couchettes cost extra).’
- ‘The fully loaded walk through five cars to the couchettes was amazing.’
1920s: French, literally ‘little bed’, diminutive of couche ‘a couch’.
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