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From Middle English quysshyn, from later Old French coissin (modern coussin), from Vulgar Latin *coxīnus (seat pad), derived from Latin coxa (hip, thigh) with the suffix possibly after Latin pulvīnus (pillow).


  • IPA(key): /ˈkʊʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊʃən


cushion (countable and uncountable, plural cushions)

A striped cushion on a bed
  1. A soft mass of material stuffed into a cloth bag, used for comfort or support.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Tremarn Case[1]:
      “There the cause of death was soon ascertained ; the victim of this daring outrage had been stabbed to death from ear to ear with a long, sharp instrument, in shape like an antique stiletto, which […] was subsequently found under the cushions of the hansom. […]”
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XII, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      There were many wooden chairs for the bulk of his visitors, and two wicker armchairs with red cloth cushions for superior people. From the packing-cases had emerged some Indian clubs, [], and all these articles [] made a scattered and untidy decoration that Mrs. Clough assiduously dusted and greatly cherished.
    1. (Commonwealth) A throw pillow.
    2. A thin, flat pad used on hard chairs and sometimes toilet seats.
  2. Something acting as a cushion, especially to absorb a shock or impact.
    1. A pad on which gilders cut gold leaf.
    2. A mass of steam in the end of the cylinder of a steam engine to receive the impact of the piston.
    3. (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) The lip around a table in cue sports which absorbs some of the impact of the billiard balls and bounces them back.
    4. The pillow used in making bone lace.
    5. An engraver's pad.
    6. (historical) The rubber of an electrical machine.
    7. (historical) A pad supporting a woman's hair.
  3. (figurative) a sufficient quantity of an intangible object (like points or minutes) to allow for some of those points, for example, to be lost without hurting one's chances for successfully completing an objective.
    • 2011 November 3, Arindam Rej, “Fulham 4-1 Wisla Krakow”, in BBC Sport:
      Wisla made a bright start to the second half and Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer was twice called into action, first saving Gervasio Nunez's deflected 20-yard effort and then smothering Gargula's free-kick.
      But Fulham soon had the cushion of a third goal after more outstanding build-up play.
    • 2021 March 7, David Hytner, “Manchester United catch City cold as Fernandes and Shaw end winning run”, in The Guardian[2]:
      It will most likely not alter the destination of the league title, which still seems bound for City, who retain an 11-point cushion at the top
    1. (finance, countable, uncountable) Money kept in reserve.
      • 2007, Belverd Needles, Marian Powers, Financial Accounting: Media Enhanced, page 826:
        Interest coverage is important because it is an indicator of how much cushion a company has in making its interest payments.
      • 2013, Stijn Claessens, Kirsten Forbes, International Financial Contagion, page 85:
        If one of the banks has a significant enough cushion of capital and a strong enough balance sheet, then it would not experience a bank run, and the domino effect in panel A would not have occurred.
  4. (historical) The dancer in the cushion dance who currently holds the cushion, or the dance itself.
    • 1668, Desiderius Erasmus, translated by John Wilson, edited by Helen Mary Allen, The Praise of Folly, published 1913, page 35:
      But of these kind of second Courses I am the onely Cook; though yet those ordinary practises of our Feasts, as choosing a King, throwing Dice, drinking Healths, trouling it Round, dancing the Cushion and the like, were not invented by the seven Wise Men but my Self, and that too for the common pleasure of Mankind.
    • 1836, George Dubourg, The Violin, page 21:
      The young man advances to the fiddler, drops a penny in the pot, and gives it to one of his companions. Cushion then dances round the room, followed by the pot, and when they again reach the fiddler, the cushion says, in a sort of recitative, accompanied by the music, 'This dance it will no farther go.'
    • 1877, John Brand, Henry Ellis, Observations on Popular Antiquities, page 394:
      In reference to a nuptial feast, the cushion dance at weddings is thus mentioned in the Apophthegms of King James, the Earl of Worcester and others (1658): “At last when the Masque was ended and Time had brought in the Supper, the Cushion led the Dance out of the Parlour into the Hall;”

Derived terms[edit]


  • Cantonese: 咕𠱸 (ku1 seon2), 箍臣
  • Irish: cúisín
  • Japanese: クッション (kusshon)
  • Korean: 쿠션 (kusyeon)
  • Maori: kuihana


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


cushion (third-person singular simple present cushions, present participle cushioning, simple past and past participle cushioned)

  1. To furnish with cushions.
    to cushion a sofa
  2. To seat or place on, or as on a cushion.
    • 1734, Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, A Dissertation on Parties:
      How many doughty monarchs, in later and more polite ages, would have slept in cottages, and have worked in falls, instead of inhabiting palaces, and being cushioned up in thrones, if this rule of government had continued in force ?
  3. To absorb or deaden the impact of.
    to cushion a blow
    • 1903, Edward Porritt, "Poynings' Law", The Unreformed House of Commons Vol.II p.429 (CUP):
      the development of popular interest in Parliament made it less possible for the Privy Council in Dublin to cushion a bill which the Commons had presented to the Lord Lieutenant
  4. To conceal or cover up, as under a cushion.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.