[ koosh-uhn ]
/ ˈkʊʃ ən /
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See synonyms for: cushion / cushioned / cushioning on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
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Origin of cushion

1300–50; Middle English cuisshin<Anglo-French; Middle French coussin ≪ Latin cōx(a) hip + -īnus-ine1; see coxa

synonym study for cushion

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.


cush·ion·less, adjectivecush·ion·like, adjectiveun·cush·ioned, adjectivewell-cushioned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does cushion mean?

The word cushion most commonly refers to a soft object used to pad a surface or make it more comfortable to sit, stand, kneel, lie, or rest your head on.

Couches have cushions that you sit on. A seat cushion is the kind on top of the seat of a chair. Pillows, mats, and pads are kinds of cushions. Cushions typically consist of a soft material filled with a soft or spongy substance, such as foam, feathers, or air (as in an air cushion)—anything that yields to pressure instead of remaining completely hard or firm.

Example: The stuffing in these cushions needs to be replaced—look how flat they are.

Another word for padding is cushioning. Something that has had a cushion or cushioning added to it can be described as cushioned. Something that is soft and comfortable like a cushion can be described as cushiony, as in Wow, this mattress is so soft and cushiony!

As a noun, cushion can also be used in a figurative way to refer to a kind of buffer—something that helps to lessen the impact of negative circumstances or serves to delay such circumstances. An extra bit of money in your bank account for emergencies could be called a cushion.

Cushion can also be used as a verb meaning to add cushions to or support with a cushion. It is commonly used in a more figurative way meaning to soften or lessen the impact of something. The mats used by gymnasts are intended to cushion their falls.

In a literal sense, the verb phrase cushion the blow means to absorb the force from a strike, such as a punch, and lessen its effect. It is commonly used in a more figurative way, in which blow refers to the negative impact or consequences of something, as in I know the kids will be disappointed that the party is cancelled, but hopefully ice cream will cushion the blow.

Where does cushion come from?

The first records of the word cushion come from the 1300s. It’s thought to ultimately come from the Latin coxīnum, a combination of cōx(a), meaning “hip,” and the Latin suffix -īnus. It’s not entirely clear how a word meaning “hip” led to the word cushion, but the same suffix appears in the Latin word pulvīnus, which means “cushion” and is the root of the word pillow.

Sofa cushions are known as the hiding place of loose change and lost remotes and smartphones that have fallen between them. These cushions are usually the kind that are loose, but many pieces of furniture have cushions that are attached.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to cushion?

  • cushioned (past tense verb, adjective)
  • cushiony (adjective)
  • uncushioned (adjective)

What are some synonyms for cushion?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cushion

What are some words that often get used in discussing cushion?



How is cushion used in real life?

Cushion is commonly used as both a noun and a verb and in both literal and figurative senses.

Try using cushion!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym for cushion?

A. pillow

B. pad

C. board

D. mat

How to use cushion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cushion

/ (ˈkʊʃən) /

verb (tr)

Derived forms of cushion

cushiony, adjective

Word Origin for cushion

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