One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long low sofa without a back or arms, typically placed against a wall.
day bed, sofa bedView synonyms
- ‘You sit on divans at low tables, as waiters in fezzes and djellebas produce dishes like magicians from velvet tagine-shaped platters.’
- ‘Resting on the divan in the hall, noises of loud whispers and bursts of laughter reach my ears - coming from Sophia's room.’
- ‘Its living room had cushions and divans, and the kind owner offered us a room for the night.’
- ‘A deep, luxurious carpet covered the floor, and several divans were situated around the room.’
- ‘She should be here soon, ‘Jamie answered offering Jude a seat on the divan.’’
- ‘Opening a side door, he saw a small, ornately - furnished parlor with two divans facing each other.’
- ‘Meanwhile, back in the ‘real’ world, feast your eyes on these canine accessories, including this insane dog divan.’
- ‘She stood firm under their weight, gently ushering them back into the room and onto one of the divans.’
- ‘The cream leather seats, with chocolate faux ponyskin box stools, sit perfectly with the chocolate Nubuck two-seater divans.’
- ‘They piled out into a bigger room with several worn couches and divans.’
- ‘I spotted Jonas and his friends lounging on ornate, divan couches in the ‘mirror’ room.’
- ‘He looked in the direction next to the couch or divan that he was lying on, and saw a woman, sitting there next to him.’
- ‘One woman stretched out on the divan lounge, thoughtfully perusing a scroll.’
- ‘Faced with multiple sweets and puddings, I simply reclined and used the best of the divan.’
- ‘When we sit for dinner it is on divans against walls covered with rich Moroccan fabrics.’
- ‘Lounging on the divan, his arms placed unguardedly before him, he had none of the tense, high-strung, honour-obsessed posture of his people.’
- ‘As an example of minimalism to the extreme, Hanson used only a cluttered desk and a divan to suggest Higgins' study.’
- ‘The room was simply furnished with a large divan facing the TV set, two comfortable looking armchairs, all surrounding a wooden table.’
- ‘She was lounging on a divan, and looked rather uncomfortable - like she was hurt.’
- ‘She pulled the low writing desk to the divan, and reached into the jar.’
2historical A legislative body, council chamber, or court of justice in the Ottoman Empire or elsewhere in the Middle East.
- ‘The king holds court in the divan, where citizens can make requests or express complaints.’
- ‘Every year the divan, the ruling council of the Pirate Republic of Bou Regreg met to elect two officers for the year.’
- ‘The palace comprises tall, elaborately decorated rooms where the Khan held his divans, or council meetings.’
Late 16th century (in divan (sense 3 of the noun)): via French or Italian from Turkish dīvān, from Persian dīwān ‘anthology, register, court, or bench’; compare with diwan. As a piece of furniture, a divan was originally (early 18th century) a low bench or raised section of floor against an interior wall, used as a long seat and common in Middle Eastern countries; European imitation of this led to the sense ‘low flat sofa or bed’ (late 19th century).
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