Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A long backless sofa, especially one set with pillows against a wall.
  • n. A counting room, tribunal, or public audience room in Muslim countries.
  • n. The seat used by an administrator when holding audience.
  • n. A government bureau or council chamber.
  • n. A coffeehouse or smoking room.
  • n. A book of poems, especially one written in Arabic or Persian by a single author.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A couch- or sofa-like piece of furniture made of a mattress lying against the wall and either on the floor or an elevated structure (see Wikipedia's Divan_(furniture)).
  • n. A Muslim council of state, such as that of viziers of the Ottoman Empire that discussed and recommended new laws and law changes to a higher authority (the sultan) (see Wikipedia's Divan).
  • n. A collection of poems, especially one written by one author in Arabic or Persian (see Wikipedia's Diwan_(poetry)).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A book; esp., a collection of poems written by one author.
  • n. In Turkey and other Oriental countries: A council of state; a royal court. Also used by the poets for a grand deliberative council or assembly.
  • n. A chief officer of state.
  • n. A saloon or hall where a council is held, in Oriental countries, the state reception room in places, and in the houses of the richer citizens. Cushions on the floor or on benches are ranged round the room.
  • n. A cushioned seat, or a large, low sofa or couch; especially, one fixed to its place, and not movable.
  • n. A coffee and smoking saloon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A council, especially a council of state; specifically, in Turkey, the chief or privy council of the Porte, presided over by the grand vizir and made up of the ministers and heads of departments. It meets twice a week.
  • n. A council-chamber; a hall; a court; a state- or reception-room in palaces and the houses of richer citizens.
  • n. A kind of coffee-house where smoking tobacco is the principal enjoyment.
  • n. A cushioned seat standing against the wall of a room; a kind of sofa: a sense derived by transfer from that of ‘council-chamber’ or ‘hall’ (def. 2) as furnished with low sofas, covered with rich carpets, and provided with many cushions.
  • n. A book, especially a collection of poems by a single author: as, the divan of Sadi.
  • n. [Used with reference to the Turks, Arabs, Persians, and other Orientals; in sense 4 also (in the form divan only) used in a general application.]

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a Muslim council chamber or law court
  • n. a Muslim council of state
  • n. a collection of Persian or Arabic poems (usually by one author)
  • n. a long backless sofa (usually with pillows against a wall)

Etymologies

French, from Turkish, from Persian dīvān, place of assembly, roster, probably from Old Iranian *dipivahanam, document house : Old Persian dipī-, writing, document (from Akkadian ṭuppu, tablet, letter, from Sumerian dub) + Old Persian vahanam, house.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French, from Turkish divan, from Persian دیوان (divân). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Chicken divan is one of those things that I think most families have a "version" of ... it definitely is a typical American comfort food.

    Family Recipes: Chicken Divan, The Spiced Life Family Style

  • Toby: Yes, the dictionaries give a word divan 'sofa, couch' and another '1.

    languagehat.com: DIVAN.

  • King, where the divan was already assembled, and the King had taken his seat on the throne.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Opposite the divan is a great bay-window, with a divan likewise round the niche.

    Notes of a Journey From Cornhill to Grand Cairo

  • I sleep on a small divan, which is only five feet long, so we have to add a few chairs to make it longer.

    The Diary Of A Young Girl

  • There was no upholstered furniture in which anything could have been concealed; even the divan was a rattan affair; there were only rugs upon the floors.

    An American Suffragette

  • Within the horseshoe curve was a genuine Turkish divan, that is to say, a mattress resting directly upon the floor, a mattress as large as a bed, a divan fifty feet in circumference and covered with white cashmere, relieved by tufts of black and poppy-red silk arranged in a diamond pattern.

    Honore de Balzac

  • At the far end of the room, stirring, slowly oozing from under the divan was a-- a Thing!

    The Cost

  • Covering the divan was a fine piece of Bokhara embroidery.

    The Drums of Jeopardy

  • In the right-hand corner of the divan was the Khanum herself.

    Paul Patoff

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Comments

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  • In the UK a 'divan' is usually a normal height single bed on castors, without a headboard or foot board. There may be drawers in the section under the mattress.

    Both of my divans have a sprung mattress and the base is also sprung but not to the same standard. One can sleep fairly comfortably on the base and so allow someone else to use the mattress.

    June 5, 2012