Definition of cushion in US English:



  • 1A pillow or pad stuffed with a mass of soft material, used as a comfortable support for sitting or leaning on.

    • ‘The four climbed into the carriage and made themselves comfortable among the plush cushions and pillows.’
    • ‘Prior to that, cushions were stuffed with flax, cotton or other padded materials and the result was fairly deadening.’
    • ‘I leaned into the soft cushions of the ratty old furniture as the phone rang.’
    • ‘At evening viewings, comfortable cushions and blankets are placed on the lounge chairs.’
    • ‘The guilt subsided as I sank back into the soft new cushions and watched a video by candlelight.’
    • ‘The setting is conducive to cuddling up in the soft cushions and really making yourself at home.’
    • ‘Then there were a few old sofa cushions added to the pile.’
    • ‘I bought it because it had big soft cushions and was very long and deep from front to back so anyone with insomnia could find it a safe haven.’
    • ‘That night I sat in bed, cloaked in a pure white silken nightgown and sitting upon the layers of bedspreads which made a soft cushion for me.’
    • ‘But over the last year or so, she has also taken to making her own soft furnishings - cushions, curtains and covers - using top-quality materials.’
    • ‘Simone collapsed on the exceptionally soft cushions of her sofa.’
    • ‘She was sitting by the window, where they had put up a makeshift divan with soft cushions and throw pillows, watching the rain fall.’
    • ‘It's always nice to place your decorative cushions, soft pillows and even your bed pillows outside on a warm spring day to air out in the breeze.’
    • ‘He throws his black trench coat over the back of the chair, orders a tea and sinks into the soft cushions.’
    • ‘The soft cushions were so much more comfortable than the hard bench of the wagon.’
    • ‘I lifted my head from the floor, clambering over the sofa, hauling myself onto the soft cushions.’
    • ‘The kitchen door and a cushion from the sitting room were some of the items removed from the house by the forensic team.’
    • ‘He set the computer aside and put his hands behind his back, sinking into the comfortable support of the cushions and allowing the memories to take him back.’
    • ‘Some play stuff for the children, travel pillows, cushions and soft pillows best suited for babies are added attractions.’
    • ‘For the eight hours we'd searched, Critter was sleeping on a soft cushion in a corner of their living room.’
    pillow, bolster, headrest
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    1. 1.1 Something providing support or protection against impact.
      ‘the pad forms a cushion between carpet and floor’
      figurative ‘a poll showed the candidate with a 14-point cushion’
      • ‘A two-goal cushion then might have laid the foundations for a rare Dulwich victory, but instead it was to be heartache once again.’
      • ‘The baby is well protected by a cushion of fluid in the womb and by the mom's abdomen.’
      • ‘Over time, the body creates a cushion to protect that area in the form of a corn or callus.’
      • ‘What a practical economist would say is that you need a cushion to protect people.’
      • ‘A two-goal cushion may have suggested to the Dutch that the game was under control but that was to misjudge the commitment and spirit of their opponents.’
      • ‘If the associations we report are causal it may be that men, who are generally heavier than women, overcome the protective cushion of the air bag and strike the steering wheel more readily.’
      • ‘He admitted that he had been able to enjoy proceedings only when his team had a two-goal cushion.’
      • ‘It could have made the home side edgy if the Easter Road pups had applied more pressure but within a couple of minutes the two-goal cushion was restored.’
      • ‘The two-goal cushion was well-deserved but took too long in coming.’
      • ‘Despite the two-goal cushion, City just needed a foothold to get back into the match.’
      • ‘Dynamos looked as if they were coping well, and with only 10 minutes left and a two-goal cushion they must have been confident of a smooth finish.’
      • ‘This is where the cushion of payment protection was supposed to break Mr Moore's fall.’
      • ‘But it was his mesmeric thrust in the 47th minute which should have given Chelsea a two-goal cushion.’
      • ‘I stick plasters on three toes to prevent blisters, and a gel cushion on my big toes to protect my toenails.’
      • ‘They were therefore not protected by the cushion of such longer-term borrowers.’
      • ‘What it did was give them the two-goal cushion they ultimately required.’
      • ‘Companies with high net profit margins have a bigger cushion to protect themselves during the hard times.’
      • ‘The first game against the University of Ottawa saw an opening half defensive battle where neither team could maintain a comfortable cushion.’
      • ‘The next day, Thomasin takes her baby on the heath to practice walking - the soft grass and turf make a cushion to protect the baby when she falls.’
      • ‘City had not gone in to the interval with the luxury of a two-goal cushion since beating Watford in March.’
      protection, buffer, shield, defence, bulwark
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    2. 1.2 The elastic lining of the sides of a billiard table, from which the ball rebounds.
      • ‘He missed a fine cut on a red into the yellow pocket, but the cue ball bounced off three cushions and rolled back up the table to nudge the red into the pocket.’
      • ‘Each shot must always hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first and then pocket a ball or make two balls reach a cushion.’
      • ‘But the new player, having to cut the black back to a blind corner pocket with the cue-ball close to the side cushion, over-cut it and left his player a simple chance.’
      • ‘Rather than roll to the five remaining reds, and therefore almost certainly leave one on, White twice attempted to hit them off the side cushion.’
      • ‘It's now time for the lag, and his ball is glued to the cushion as my ball stops embarrassingly at mid-table.’
    3. 1.3 The layer of air supporting a hovercraft or similar vehicle.
      • ‘The air cushion is ‘trapped’ under the hovercraft by a skirt around the edge.’
      • ‘The vehicle hovers safely on its own cushion of air.’


[with object]
  • 1Soften the effect of an impact on.

    ‘the bag cushions equipment from inevitable knocks’
    • ‘They avoid night riding and always use helmets, leather jackets and knee and elbow pads to cushion the impact of a fall.’
    • ‘The museum staff had placed sandbags and foam rubber around those heavy stone sculptures to cushion the impact if they fell.’
    • ‘Instead, the impact was cushioned by a sort of air bag of small plates in what is now the Caribbean Sea.’
    • ‘The ruffian took the entire brunt of the fall, cushioning the impact somewhat for Trrol and simultaneously throwing up jets of dust and detritus.’
    • ‘You'd think with all the armor on Alphas these days it would cushion the impact.’
    • ‘Prof Schwellnus' research has shown that the foot is the first line of defence in cushioning the impact of landing.’
    • ‘The two horns cushioning him from the impact, as his opponent reeled back, his force lessening.’
    • ‘Due to the diminished employment opportunities, families will have to move, with no savings to cushion the impact.’
    • ‘Those briefcases near her must have cushioned the body's impact.’
    • ‘This clear-colored liquid cushions and protects the baby, provides it with fluids and is crucial in normal development.’
    • ‘Most sites favour the use of 700 tires and band tracks cushioning the impact on pressure-sensitive sites.’
    • ‘My bike landed between two rocks, which acted like shock absorbers and cushioned the impact.’
    • ‘So down she went again, her folder skidding a few ways in front of her as she cushioned the impact with her hands.’
    • ‘He wrapped his waist with thick paper to cushion the impact when he hit the hard ground or glass.’
    • ‘Due to its thickness and elasticity it is thought to act as a ‘shock-absorber’, cushioning the impact of movement.’
    • ‘Though my basket was broken in many places, it had saved my life by cushioning the impact as I went around boulders.’
    • ‘Once captured, the capsule will be tethered to a cable to cushion the impact.’
    • ‘Supports relieve excessive pressure and foot strain by distributing body weight across the feet and by cushioning the impact of walking, he says.’
    • ‘It is important that her shoes not only cushion the impact, but also allow her quick recovery.’
    • ‘The voice warned the city that re-entry would be taking place momentarily, and recommended finding some way to cushion oneself for impact.’
    soften, lessen, diminish, decrease, mitigate, temper, allay, alleviate, reduce the effect of, take the edge off, dull, blunt, deaden, absorb, muffle, stifle
    protect, shield, shelter, cocoon
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    1. 1.1 Mitigate the adverse effects of.
      ‘he called for federal assistance to cushion the blow for farmers’
      • ‘However the disposal of some fixed assets cushioned the impact of the hefty £82m interest bill and this helped BA to report a modest profit before tax of £5m.’
      • ‘Mr Kemp also defended the NUM's decision not to co-operate with the coalfield task force, set up to cushion the economic impact on Selby.’
      • ‘The flexibility of the Australian dollar acts as a natural buffer against international economic developments, and has served us well in cushioning the impact of the global slowdown in 2001.’
      • ‘We have had a stable exchange rate and strong reserves that have helped us cushion the impact of oil prices of $50 a barrel.’
      • ‘But it has been able to cushion the impact of those forex reserves by essentially selling central bank bonds for the banks, he said.’
      • ‘He credits Alcatel's greater global reach and more diverse product line for cushioning the downturn's impact.’
      • ‘The fall of the dollar will cushion the impact of the oil price-rise and help contain inflation.’
      • ‘This government continues to do what it can to cushion the impact of global developments on the ordinary working men and women in this country.’
      • ‘He said the suspension would also give time to the 33-man committee set up by the Nigerian government on Monday to find ways of cushioning the adverse effects of the price increases on Nigerians.’
      • ‘The Council for Cultural Affairs will call a meeting tomorrow of leaders of cultural organizations to discuss ways of cushioning the impact of SARS on various cultural activities nationwide.’
      • ‘As a way of cushioning the impact of the current price increases on the consumers, Burger said the supermarket is buying products in bulk and by this, prices of goods stay lower for longer.’
      • ‘The money is being distributed nationwide to cushion the impact of the Oct.1 fuel price increases.’
      • ‘For example, some provide tighter limits on interest rate adjustments, cushioning the impact of a spike in interest rates.’
      • ‘In a sense, it's also cushioning the impact of recession in the US by keeping imported consumer goods cheap, but only up to the bang, of course.’
      • ‘Increased organic farm production can be one of the effective options to cushion the country from these adverse effects.’
      • ‘While oversupply of goods produced by the stronger economy is possible, that economy's strengths generally cushion it better from adversity.’
      • ‘Successful added-value ventures also are well capitalized and able to cushion for unplanned adversities.’
      • ‘Many Asian countries have cushioned consumers against the impact of rising oil prices by subsidizing retail fuel prices.’
      • ‘It seems fair to assume real income growth will slow moderately, as the expected easing of energy prices and tax rebates cushion the impact of a weak economy.’
      • ‘Social policy is a tool that in principle can be used by governments to cushion the adverse effects of external liberalization.’
      soften, lessen, diminish, decrease, mitigate, temper, allay, alleviate, reduce the effect of, take the edge off, dull, blunt, deaden, absorb, muffle, stifle
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French cuissin, based on a Latin word meaning ‘cushion for the hip’, from coxa ‘hip, thigh’. The Romans also had a word cubital ‘elbow cushion’, from cubitus ‘elbow’.