cushion vs pillow

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liv3000

Senior Member
italian italy
Which is exactly the difference between CUSHION and PILLOW?

l called both pillows, when l've heard also "cushion" that seems the italian "cuscino" but we only have one word to name that object.

thanks

Liv
 
  • pinha

    Senior Member
    italy italian
    I'd say pillow is specific for the bed, whereas for example, you can find cushions on sofas or armchairs
     

    liv3000

    Senior Member
    italian italy
    Thanks pinha, l thought that might have had one of these differences, but can one call "pillows" the ones on a sofa as well?
     

    fabius

    Senior Member
    Italia
    but we only have one word to name that object.
    If "we" is referred to Italians, it is not exact, we also have two distinct words:
    "cuscino" more general, may be referred to bed, sofa, etc. , or even technical application: "cuscino d'aria" as in an hovercraft, and so on.

    "guanciale" is specifically a "cuscino" for the bed.

    However in modern times "guanciale" sounds a little bit old-fashioned, and its use is declining in everyday use.
     

    saretta

    Senior Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    If "we" is referred to Italians, it is not exact, we also have two distinct words:
    "cuscino" more general, may be referred to bed, sofa, etc. , or even technical application: "cuscino d'aria" as in an hovercraft, and so on.

    "guanciale" is specifically a "cuscino" for the bed.

    However in modern times "guanciale" sounds a little bit old-fashioned, and its use is declining in everyday use.
    Agree. In English, however, pillow is definitely "guanciale", and cushion is definitely "cuscino". And they're both absolutely up-to-date, though cushion is also used sometimes to refer to "guanciale", but not vice-versa (we don't say the sofa pillows but the sofa cushions).
     

    Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    Pillows are definitely specific to a bed...you will not find pillows on a sofa. However, whilst cushions are USUALLY found on a sofa, it is also possible to find them on a bed (alongside pillows), usually as part of the decor of a bedroom (and usually removed when one actually settles down to sleep).

    Hope this clarifies things for you!

    Jane
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I think there may be some subtle BE/AE differences here.:D

    There are two types of "pillows" (at least) in AE -
    Pillows "on the bed" = HERE
    Pillows on the couch and elsewhere -"throw pillows" - HERE

    A "cushion" is often something you sit or lie on -
    like a "cushion" of a couch - HERE.
     

    Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    Yes Tim, this is a definitely a case of subtle differences between BE and AE...I followed the link to your "throw pillows" and they would definitely be referred to as "throw cushions" in England.

    In BE a cushion is something you not only sit on and lie on...but also something you prop yourself up on (like a pillow!) when watching a movie on TV or reading a good book in bed. Then, when it's time to turn out the light, the "cushions" get thrown onto the floor (I'm a terrible housekeeper!) and one snuggles down into one's pillow(s) to actually go to sleep.

    Jane xx
     

    saretta

    Senior Member
    English/Italian - bilingual
    Yes Tim, this is a definitely a case of subtle differences between BE and AE...I followed the link to your "throw pillows" and they would definitely be referred to as "throw cushions" in England.

    In BE a cushion is something you not only sit on and lie on...but also something you prop yourself up on (like a pillow!) when watching a movie on TV or reading a good book in bed. Then, when it's time to turn out the light, the "cushions" get thrown onto the floor (I'm a terrible housekeeper!) and one snuggles down into one's pillow(s) to actually go to sleep.

    Jane xx
    Thanks Jane and Tim, what an eye opener this forum is.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Interesting AE/BE. Another distinction (in BE) is the style of the covering. The pillow has a covering (pillow-slip) of similar material to the sheets and often matching them, which is regularly changed and washed. The cushion is covered by a more robust material which is washed less often.
     
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