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90s Slang You Should Know


[koo sh-uh n] /ˈkʊʃ ən/
a soft bag of cloth, leather, or rubber, filled with feathers, air, foam rubber, etc., on which to sit, kneel, or lie.
anything similar in form, used to dampen shocks or to prevent excessive pressure or chafing.
something to absorb or counteract a shock, jar, or jolt, as a body of air or steam.
something that lessens the effects of hardship, distress, or the like:
His inheritance was a cushion against unemployment.
Anatomy, Zoology. any part or structure resembling a cushion.
the resilient raised rim encircling the top of a billiard table.
a pad worn under the hair by women.
a portion of a radio or television script that can be adjusted in length or cut out altogether in order to end the program on time.
Ice Hockey, Canadian. the iced surface of a rink.
a pillow used in lacemaking.
a leather pad on which gold leaf is placed preparatory to gilding.
verb (used with object)
to place on or support by a cushion.
to furnish with a cushion or cushions.
to cover or conceal with, or as if with, a cushion.
to lessen or soften the effects of:
to cushion the blow to his pride.
to suppress (complaints, lamentations, etc.) by quietly ignoring.
to check the motion of (a piston or the like) by a cushion, as of steam.
to form (steam or the like) into a cushion.
Origin of cushion
1300-50; Middle English cuisshin < Anglo-French; Middle French coussinLatin cōx(a) hip + -īnus -ine1; see coxa
Related forms
cushionless, adjective
cushionlike, adjective
uncushioned, adjective
well-cushioned, adjective
1. pad. 3. shock absorber.
Synonym Study
1.Cushion, pillow, bolster agree in being cases filled with a material more or less resilient, intended to be used as supports for the body or parts of it. A cushion is a soft pad used to sit, lie, or kneel on, or to lean against: cushions on a sofa; cushions on pews in a church. A pillow is a bag or case filled with feathers, down, or other soft material, usually to support the head: to sleep with a pillow under one's head. A bolster is a firm pillow, long enough to extend the width of a bed and used as head support, with or without a pillow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cushion
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dolly used to pick nosegays for her mamma's toilet-table, and stick pins in the cushion in stars.

    Old Kensington Miss Thackeray
  • The schoolroom is now the parlor, and my sofa and cushion grace it still!

  • A 22 large Book of Common Prayer stood open against an oaken rest on a table; a cushion of black velvet was beneath it.

    A Rose of a Hundred Leaves Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • This is derived from Latin culcitra, a stuffed mattress or cushion.

    Quilts Marie D. Webster
  • Within that half-globe there was a monster, resting upon a cushion of softest silk.

    The Mad Planet Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for cushion


a bag made of cloth, leather, plastic, etc, filled with feathers, air, or other yielding substance, used for sitting on, leaning against, etc
something resembling a cushion in function or appearance, esp one to support or pad or to absorb shock
the resilient felt-covered rim of a billiard table
another name for pillow (sense 2)
short for air cushion
a capital, used in Byzantine, Romanesque, and Norman architecture, in the form of a bowl with a square top
verb (transitive)
to place on or as on a cushion
to provide with cushions
to lessen or suppress the effects of
to protect, esp against hardship or change
  1. to check the motion of (a mechanism) gently, esp by the compression of trapped fluid in a cylinder
  2. to provide with a means of absorbing shock
Derived Forms
cushiony, adjective
Word Origin
from Latin culcita mattress
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cushion

c.1300, from Old French coissin "seat cushion" (12c., Modern French coussin), probably a variant of Vulgar Latin *coxinum, from Latin coxa "hip, thigh," or from Latin culcita "mattress." Someone has counted more than 400 spellings of the plural of this word in Middle English wills and inventories. Also from the French word are Italian cuscino, Spanish cojin.


1730s, from cushion (n.). In the figurative sense, from 1863. Related: Cushioned; cushioning.


1730s, from cushion (n.). In the figurative sense, from 1863. Related: Cushioned; cushioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cushion in Medicine

cushion cush·ion (kush'ən)
A padlike body part.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for cushion



  1. One of the bases in baseball; bag (1940s+)
  2. Anything, esp money, kept as a safeguard against hard times: He kept one bank account just as a cushion (1950s+)

Related Terms

the keystone, whoopee cushion

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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