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

  • n. A pad or pillow with a soft filling, used for resting, reclining, or kneeling.
  • n. Something resilient used as a rest, support, or shock absorber.
  • n. A mat placed or attached beneath carpeting to provide softness and increase durability.
  • n. A padlike body part.
  • n. Games The rim bordering the playing surface of a billiard table.
  • n. A pillow used in lacemaking.
  • n. Something that mitigates or relieves an adverse effect: extra funds serving as a cushion against future inflation.
  • transitive v. To provide with a cushion: cushion a bench.
  • transitive v. To place or seat on a cushion.
  • transitive v. To cover or hide (something) with or as if with a cushion.
  • transitive v. To protect from impacts or other disturbing effects: an automobile suspension that cushions the ride.
  • transitive v. To mitigate the effects of; absorb the shock of: cushion a blow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A soft mass of material stuffed into a cloth bag, used for comfort or support; for sitting on, kneeling on, resting one's head on etc.
  • n. Something acting as a cushion, especially to absorb a shock or impact.
  • n. The lip around a table in cue sports which absorbs some of the impact of the billiard balls and bounces them back.
  • n. 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 objcetive.
  • v. to provide a soft pillow cushion
  • v. to absorb or deaden the impact of something

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A case or bag stuffed with some soft and elastic material, and used to sit or recline upon; a soft pillow or pad.
  • n. Anything resembling a cushion in properties or use.
  • n. a pad on which gilders cut gold leaf.
  • n. a mass of steam in the end of the cylinder of a steam engine to receive the impact of the piston.
  • n. the elastic edge of a billiard table.
  • n. A riotous kind of dance, formerly common at weddings; -- called also cushion dance.
  • transitive v. To seat or place on, or as on a cushion.
  • transitive v. To furnish with cushions.
  • transitive v. To conceal or cover up, as under a cushion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To seat on or as on a cushion or cushions.
  • To cover or conceal with or as with a cushion; furnish with a cushion or cushions, in any sense of that word: as, to cushion a seat; to cushion a carriage.
  • . To put aside or suppress.
  • In billiards, to make the cue-ball hit the cushion, either before it touches any other ball or after contact with the object-ball.
  • In machinery, to compress (exhaust-steam or other motive fluid) by closing the exhaust-outlet of a cylinder before the piston completes its traverse.
  • n. A bag-like case of cloth or leather, usually of moderate size, filled with feathers, wool, or other soft material, used to support or ease some part of the body in sitting or reclining, as on a chair or lounge. See pillow.
  • n. Something resembling a cushion in structure, softness, elasticity, use, or appearance; especially, something used to counteract a sudden shock, jar, or jolt, as in a piece of mechanism.
  • n. The rubber of an electrical machine. See rubber.
  • n. The padded side or rim of a billiard-table.
  • n. The head of a bit-stock. See brace, 14.
  • n. In machinery, a body of air or steam which serves, under pressure, as an elastic check or buffer; specifically, steam left in the cylinder of an engine to serve as an elastic check for the piston. The cushion is made by closing the exhaust-outlet an instant before the end of the stroke, or by opening the inlet for live steam before the stroke is finished.
  • n. In zoology, a pulvillus.
  • n. In botany, the enlargement at or beneath the insertion of many leaves, a special mobile organ. Also called pulvinus.
  • n. In architecture, the echinus of a capital.
  • n. The woolsack.
  • n. An expansion at the lower extremity of a grape-vine from which a part of its roots spring.
  • n. Same as saddle, 3 .
  • n. In pianoforte-making, a pad or roll of felt placed under the ends of the keys to prevent noise. See cut under pianoforte.
  • n. Same as coronet, 6.
  • n. A pool formed by a low dam or obstruction immediately below a higher dam to prevent erosion or destructive effect of the water which falls over the higher dam or hydraulic work.

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

  • n. the layer of air that supports a hovercraft or similar vehicle
  • n. a soft bag filled with air or a mass of padding such as feathers or foam rubber etc.
  • v. protect from impact
  • n. a mechanical damper; absorbs energy of sudden impulses


Middle English cushin, from Old French coussin, from Vulgar Latin *coxīnum, from Latin coxa, hip.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From later Old French coissin (modern coussin), ultimately from Latin coxa via a Vulgar Latin root *coxinum ‘hip, thigh’ or alternatively from Latin culcita ("mattress"). (Wiktionary)



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  • "2. Something resembling a cushion in structure, softness, elasticity, use, or appearance; especially, something used to counteract a sudden shock, jar, or jolt, as in a piece of mechanism. Specifically— An elastic pad of calfskin stuffed with wool, on which gold-leaf is placed and cut with a paletteknife into the forms or sizes needed by the finisher for the gilding of books. Also called gold-cushion."
    --Century Dictionary

    April 4, 2011

  • As in "Not the soft cushion!".

    June 27, 2007