Definitions

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

  • n. A long upholstered seat typically with a back and arms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An upholstered seat, typically having sides and back, long enough to accommodate two or more people.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A long seat, usually with a cushioned bottom, back, and ends; -- much used as a comfortable piece of furniture.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A long seat or settee with a stuffed bottom and raised stuffed back and ends; a bench or settee upholstered with permanent cushions. See cut under settee.

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

  • n. an upholstered seat for more than one person

Etymologies

Turkish, from Arabic ṣuffa, carpet, divan, from Aramaic ṣippā, absolute form of ṣippətā, mat; see ṣpp in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Derived from Arabic صفة (súffa, "sofa, long seat made of stone or brick"), from Aramaic צפא (ṣipā’, "mat"). The word may have entered European languages via Turkish or through the Moorish occupation of Spain. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What your seeing in pics is ONLY the "Love seat", the * sofa* is larger/longer of course (unable to take pic of sofa since it lies underneath the loveseat, no room for pic)

    craigslist | all for sale / wanted in san diego

  • A sofa is a word adapted into English from Arabic, by way of Aramaic.

    Sofas Under $900 at Room & Board

  • Your discovery of a glass eye in the fold of your sofa is a lucky omen.

    Horoscope for the week of January 6, 2008

  • In any commercial for beer or snack food, one of the guys on the sofa is always black.

    SeeLight:

  • There is certainly a degree of personal animus in some of the attacks and with the increasing polarization of the political debate in the country, this question of Tony Blair's personal style -- I mean, we saw, for example, the Butler Report in it's very veiled and rather elegant way, criticizing his what they call sofa cabinet, the fact that everything is done very informally, off the record with just a few select advisors.

    CNN Transcript Jul 17, 2004

  • Wilson points out that in Cowper's The Taska paradigm for the sentimental construction of nature in the later eighteenth centurythe sofa is the site of "female industry" (165) that the narrator turns from "to the serious business of composing poetry outdoors among real flowers" (168).

    'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' as an Ambient Poem; a Study of a Dialectical Image; with Some Remarks on Coleridge and Wordsworth

  • Mexico; the sofa is placed against the wall and the chairs form a circle around it; the visitor is given the sofa, which is the "seat of honor," and the family sit in the circle, the eldest nearest the sofa; the visitor expects to be asked to play the piano, which she does in fine style, and then the hostess must play after her or commit

    Six Months in Mexico

  • After reviewing several episodes, I see that the real gift she gives to her boys, from my seat on the sofa, is to leave them entirely to their own devices.

    Molly Baker: Parenting Lessons from 'Phineas and Ferb'

  • My sofa is discolored on one arm, possibly by newsprint or dirt from my arm.

    Do it yourself

  • The modern barrel back chairs that are paired with the white sofa is absolutely wicked!

    W Hotel & Residences in New York

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Comments

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  • "Or you could ask your hosts what they call their furniture. If an upholstered seat for two or more people is called a settee or a couch, they are no higher than middle-middle*. If it is a sofa, they are upper-middle or above." Kate Fox, Watching the English, a very delightful book about the English people.

    *class

    How would Americans call it?

    July 16, 2008

  • Is there a difference between a couch and a sofa? If so, what is it?

    July 16, 2008

  • What do you think about couch?

    December 8, 2006

  • is one which I particularly abhor

    December 7, 2006