Quilt/Duvet/Comforter

Johnny519

Senior Member
Mandarin
I want to know if comforter is mainly used in American English, and duvet is basically used in British English, and quilt is commonly used in both to refer to the thing that people use to sleep in?
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Duvet and comforter are both used in AE, although comforter is more common.

    A quilt is something different, and that word is used in both AE and BE.
     

    Johnny519

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    OK, thank you Florentia. Here next is the explanation of quilt by MW.

    a bed coverlet of two layers of cloth filled with padding (as down or batting) held in place by ties or stitched designs. And I googled the pictures of quilt, it seems that a quilt is pretty thin bedding accessory, but it's much thicker than simple bedspread.

    But comforter or duvet is something comparatively thick with a fillin used mostly in Winter by people.

    Is this right?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Thank you, DonnyB, I've noticed that. Comforter in BE means pacifier that you give a crybaby.
    Well actually we give a dummy/comforter to a 'crying baby' (or to ensure one doesn't start crying). A 'cry baby' is a child or person who is making too much of a small injury or trouble.
     

    Annacdote

    New Member
    Norwegian - Norway
    This discussion has been added to a previous thread. Cagey, moderator.

    I was wondering if there's a difference between the words "comforter" and "duvet". In literature I have yet to see the latter. Therefore, is there any difference between the two?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Looking at the Collins defintions on those dictionary links:
    Comforter
    1. a person or thing that comforts
    2. chiefly brit a woollen scarf
    3. a baby's dummy
    4. us a quilted bed covering
    Duvet
    1. another name for continental quilt
    2. Also called: duvet jacket a down-filled jacket used esp by mountaineers
    Those look different to me. They share one meaning, but a baby can't suck a duvet, or an old man wear a duvet round his neck. ;)
     

    Annacdote

    New Member
    Norwegian - Norway
    Well, surely they are different that way ;) Haha. To be more clear, I meant comforter vs. duvet as in the thing you've got on your bed. Is there a difference then? For example, are duvets thicker than comforters in that context?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Do you see "a removable cover" in the duvet definition which is not in the comforter definition?
    A duvet is sometimes a plain, white thing that goes inside a "bag" (a duvet cover) that is decorative.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A traditional quilt has the covering sewn down in squares (it's 'quilted'). A duvet, doona, or continental quilt has the covering loose. The idea is that you can make it warmer or cooler by rearranging the material inside it. (I've never managed to make this work, though.)
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ah, great. Thanks! Now I get it, I think. Let's check...

    You put a duvet cover over the duvet. Then a comforter on top of it all, more as a blanket.
    I don't. A comforter is something an American sleeps under. I sleep under a duvet. I put the duvet inside a duvet cover - the cover can be washed, the duvet cannot.

    Before we had duvets (and before we had central heating) I slept under a sheet, one or two blankets and, on top of that, a quilt (a posh one was an "eiderdown" - because it was filled with down, not feathers). The quilt was only slightly wider than the mattress and was kept in place by a counterpane (a sort of thin blanket). You'll need an American to confirm this, but I think a comforter is the equivalent of the quilt I slept under when I was young.

    The idea is that you can make it warmer or cooler by rearranging the material inside it.
    Not these days. All the duvets I've seen* now in the UK are quilted or pocketed so the filling cannot be shaken down to one end - I think it only ever worked with feather or down, not with the modern hollow fibre fillings.

    * we bought a new one recently, so the comment is based on research :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Do you see "a removable cover" in the duvet definition which is not in the comforter definition?
    A duvet is sometimes a plain, white thing that goes inside a "bag" (a duvet cover) that is decorative.
    We have several different "weight" comforters, for different weather:D They are all covered by removable, washable "comforter covers", also of different weight fabrics. The comforters have synthetic fibre filling so they can be washed if necessary. When I grew up the "fluff-filled" thing that went on top of the blankets was called an eiderdown. In some quarters that might be called a comforter today.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    You'll need an American to confirm this, but I think a comforter is the equivalent of the quilt I slept under when I was young.
    To me, a comforter and a quilt are the same thing. I didn't encounter the word "duvet" until I was an adult and became acquainted with contemporary BE.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I suppose I should add that we have quite a few quilts (my wife made them) - they do not go inside covers and are both decorative and functional. They have a thin layer of insulation quilted between the outer (pieced) fabric cover layers and can provide additional warmth when needed but usually remain as decorative covers on the beds in the guest room. In that sense they function differently than duvets and (our) comforters, which are the primary insulation replacing blankets. When we use a duvet/comforter cover, we also use a top sheet, although it is not strictly necessary if the cover is intended for frequent washing:D
     

    Junwei Guo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I don't. A comforter is something an American sleeps under. I sleep under a duvet. I put the duvet inside a duvet cover - the cover can be washed, the duvet cannot.

    Before we had duvets (and before we had central heating) I slept under a sheet, one or two blankets and, on top of that, a quilt (a posh one was an "eiderdown" - because it was filled with down, not feathers). The quilt was only slightly wider than the mattress and was kept in place by a counterpane (a sort of thin blanket). You'll need an American to confirm this, but I think a comforter is the equivalent of the quilt I slept under when I was young.

    Not these days. All the duvets I've seen* now in the UK are quilted or pocketed so the filling cannot be shaken down to one end - I think it only ever worked with feather or down, not with the modern hollow fibre fillings.

    * we bought a new one recently, so the comment is based on research :)
    Hi, Andygc,
    What's the difference between quilted and pocketed?
    Thanks=)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Hi, Andygc,
    What's the difference between quilted and pocketed?
    Thanks=)
    The design of the stitching that joins the two outer layers. quilted frequently means the stitches themselves for a pattern while "pocketed" is just a rectangular grid of stitched, trapping each clump of stuff into a small rectangular area. Below is a simple meander quilting pattern.

     
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