couch

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French couche, from the verb se couchier (go to bed), earlier colchier, from Latin collocō (place, position, settle), from con- + locus (place).

Noun[edit]

couch (plural couches)

  1. An item of furniture for the comfortable seating of more than one person.
  2. Bed, resting-place.
    • For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
    • Shakespeare
      Gentle sleep [] why liest thou with the vile / In loathsome beds, and leavest the kingly couch?
    • Bryant
      Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch / About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, The China Governess[1]:
      The half-dozen pieces […] were painted white and carved with festoons of flowers, birds and cupids. […]  The bed was the most extravagant piece.  Its graceful cane halftester rose high towards the cornice and was so festooned in carved white wood that the effect was positively insecure, as if the great couch were trimmed with icing sugar.
  3. A mass of steeped barley spread upon a floor to germinate, in malting; or the floor occupied by the barley.
    couch of malt
  4. (art, painting and gilding)  A preliminary layer, as of colour or size.
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Verb[edit]

couch (third-person singular simple present couches, present participle couching, simple past and past participle couched)

  1. To lie down; to recline (upon a couch or other place of repose).
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      If I court moe women, you'll couch with moe men.
    • 1994, Winona Ryder as Lelaina Pierce, Reality Bites:
      All you do around here, Troy, is eat and couch and fondle the remote control.
  2. To lie down for concealment; to hide; to be concealed; to be included or involved darkly.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      We'll couch in the castle ditch, till we see the light of our fairies.
    • (Can we date this quote?) I. Taylor
      the half-hidden, hallf-revealed wonders, that yet couch beneath the words of the Scripture
  3. To bend the body, as in reverence, pain, labor, etc.; to stoop; to crouch.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Spenser
      an aged squire that seemed to couch under his shield three-square
  4. (transitive) To lay something upon a bed or other resting place.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Where unbruised youth, with unstuffed brain, / Does couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth reign.
  5. (transitive) To arrange or dispose as if in a bed.
    • (Can we date this quote?) T. Burnet
      The waters couch themselves as may be to the centre of this globe, in a spherical convexity.
  6. (transitive) To lay or deposit in a bed or layer; to bed.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
      It is at this day in use at Gaza, to couch potsherds, or vessels of earth, in their walls.
  7. (transitive, paper-making) To transfer (e.g. sheets of partly dried pulp) from the wire mould to a felt blanket for further drying.
  8. (transitive, medicine) To treat by pushing down or displacing the opaque lens with a needle.
    to couch a cataract
  9. To lower (a spear or lance) to the position of attack.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      He stooped his head, and couched his spear, / And spurred his steed to full career.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French couchier

Verb[edit]

couch (third-person singular simple present couches, present participle couching, simple past and past participle couched)

  1. To phrase in a particular style, to use specific wording for.
    He couched it as a request, but it was an order.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Blackwood Magazine
      I had received a letter from Flora couched in rather cool terms.
    • 2012 June 26, Genevieve Koski, “Music: Reviews: Justin Bieber: Believe”, The Onion AV Club:
      More significantly, rigid deference to Bieber’s still-young core fan base keeps things resolutely PG, with any acknowledgement of sex either couched in vague “touch your body” workarounds or downgraded to desirous hand-holding and eye-gazing.
  2. (archaic) To conceal; to hide
    • 1662 Thomas Salusbury, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Dialogue 2:
      You have overlooked a fallacy couched in the experiment of the stick.
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Etymology 3[edit]

From quitch, from Old English cwice, from Middle Low German kweke.

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Noun[edit]

couch (uncountable)

  1. couch grass, a species of persistent grass, Elymus repens, usually considered a weed.
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