Divan Vs couch

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

When someone decides to have psychoanalysis (in Brazil, psychiatrists, psychologists and psychoanalysts are the professionals responsible for it) they go to a place (clinic) and go into a room where there is a kind of couch or divan. My question: Which option is better: couch or divan (in this context of mental treatment)? One example I made:

''John went to the psychoanalyst's office, waited for ten minutes, then walked into a room and lied on a (couch vs divan). After that, he started talking about his emotional issues.''

* I think "couch" is the better option, because it seems more common on Google. But I'm not sure.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    While I am aware of the existence word "divan" from seeing it written, I have never said it, written it, or heard it said by a native speaker at any time in my life. I would only expect to hear the word used in association with a psychiatrist's office by someone who was being humorous, or by someone who does not speak English well and who did not know enough to use the word "couch". On the other hand, a psychiatrist's couch is practically a figure of speech.
     
    While I am aware of the existence word "divan" from seeing it written, I have never said it, written it, or heard it said by a native speaker at any time in my life. I would only expect to hear the word used in association with a psychiatrist's office by someone who was being humorous, or by someone who does not speak English well and who did not know enough to use the word "couch". On the other hand, a psychiatrist's couch is practically a figure of speech.:thumbsup:
    It sure is.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'divan' is the name given to a sort of bed in the UK. A 'divan bed' is a solid upholstered base without headboard or footboard, on top of which a mattress is placed. The divan base often has drawers or storage in it.
    Like GWB, I've never otherwise heard or used the word, unless I've read it in an account of a harem.
     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I use divan for the upholstered base of a bed too.

    The couch is the stereotypical item of furniture at a psychiatrist's office, although in modern set-ups, clients sit on chairs and face the psychiatrist.

    (Also note: the past tense of lie, meaning to assume a horizontal position rather than to tell an untruth, is lay.)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I would call that a platform bed in American English.
    Me too, in the US. In the UK a divan would have the same potential function but would have a heavy fabric uphostery covering so it looked like a sofa with no arms or back and would be regularly sat on as if it were a sofa - not always found in a bedroom:) Take off the uphostery cover and presto it's a bed:)
     
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