Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lying down with the head raised.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Lying down; crouching; not erect.
  • Sleeping in a place; staying.
  • In heraldry, lying down with the head raised, which distinguishes the posture of couchant from that of dormant, or sleeping: applied to a lion or other beast.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Lying down with head erect; squatting.
  • adjective (Her.) Lying down with the head raised, which distinguishes the posture of couchant from that of dormant, or sleeping; -- said of a lion or other beast.
  • adjective (Law) rising up and lying down; -- said of beasts, and indicating that they have been long enough on land, not belonging to their owner, to lie down and rise up to feed, -- such time being held to include a day and night at the least.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of an animal Lying down; crouching.
  • adjective heraldry Represented as lying down with the head raised.

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

  • adjective lying on the stomach with head raised with legs pointed forward

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, present participle of couchier, to lie down; see couch.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French couchant.

Examples

  • “The crest is a Stag couchant, vulnerated through the neck by a broad arrow; on his side is a Martlett for a difference.”

    Kenilworth

  • In the aisle stands another altar-tomb, which has the sides panelled and adorned with shields of arms and bears the figure of an earlier Sir Thomas Markenfield, clad in armour of the period between Poitiers and Agincourt, and wearing a very curious collar of park palings with a stag couchant in front, possibly

    Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ripon A Short History of the Church and a Description of Its Fabric

  • * And if descriptivism is rampant, would prescriptivism be "couchant"?

    languagehat.com: REALLY MISPLACED.

  • In Curzon's figure the lion is standing, not 'couchant', as stated by

    Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official

  • a small pug-dog "couchant" before it, resolved to guard the treasure even at the sacrifice of life -- and a front-door standing invitingly half-open.

    Sylvie and Bruno

  • How one couchant beast, with its imperturbable gravitas, a heraldic chunk of London itself, moved without lifting a paw, from the site on the south bank of the Thames being cleared for the Festival of Britain in 1951, to Waterloo Station with its martial trappings, and on to its present eminence alongside the decommissioned County Hall.

    The Festival of Britain, 60 years on

  • I asked, peering at the crest, with its faded leopard couchant, and the printing below, more legible than the handwriting.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • In one courtyard, a mangy, flea-ridden griffon lay couchant, chained to the wall, flies buzzing around its slow-blinking head.

    Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

  • In one courtyard, a mangy, flea-ridden griffon lay couchant, chained to the wall, flies buzzing around its slow-blinking head.

    Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

Comments

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  • Then these little sly rogues, how they lie couchant, ready to spring upon us harmless fellows the moment we are in their reach!

    Lovelace to Belford, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    December 15, 2007