View synonyms for cushion


[ koosh-uhn ]


  1. a soft bag of cloth, leather, or rubber, filled with feathers, air, foam rubber, etc., on which to sit, kneel, or lie.

    Synonyms: pad

  2. anything similar in form, used to dampen shocks or to prevent excessive pressure or chafing.
  3. something to absorb or counteract a shock, jar, or jolt, as a body of air or steam.

    Synonyms: shock absorber

  4. something that lessens the effects of hardship, distress, or the like:

    His inheritance was a cushion against unemployment.

  5. Anatomy, Zoology. any part or structure resembling a cushion.
  6. the resilient raised rim encircling the top of a billiard table.
  7. a pad worn under the hair by women.
  8. 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.
  9. Ice Hockey, Canadian. the iced surface of a rink.
  10. a pillow used in lacemaking.
  11. a leather pad on which gold leaf is placed preparatory to gilding.

verb (used with object)

  1. to place on or support by a cushion.
  2. to furnish with a cushion or cushions.
  3. to cover or conceal with, or as if with, a cushion.
  4. to lessen or soften the effects of:

    to cushion the blow to his pride.

  5. to suppress (complaints, lamentations, etc.) by quietly ignoring.
  6. to check the motion of (a piston or the like) by a cushion, as of steam.
  7. to form (steam or the like) into a cushion.


/ ˈkʊʃən /


  1. a bag made of cloth, leather, plastic, etc, filled with feathers, air, or other yielding substance, used for sitting on, leaning against, etc
  2. something resembling a cushion in function or appearance, esp one to support or pad or to absorb shock
  3. the resilient felt-covered rim of a billiard table
  4. another name for pillow
  5. short for air cushion
  6. a capital, used in Byzantine, Romanesque, and Norman architecture, in the form of a bowl with a square top


  1. to place on or as on a cushion
  2. to provide with cushions
  3. to lessen or suppress the effects of
  4. 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

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Derived Forms

  • ˈcushiony, adjective

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Other Words From

  • cushion·less adjective
  • cushion·like adjective
  • un·cushioned adjective
  • well-cushioned adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of cushion1

1300–50; Middle English cuisshin < Anglo-French; Middle French coussin Latin cōx ( a ) hip + -īnus -ine 1; coxa

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Word History and Origins

Origin of cushion1

from Latin culcita mattress

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

The best memory foam mattresses will often have layers of varying densities, with a high-density base for greater longevity and optimal assistance with improving your circulation, and a lower-density layer on top for cushion and comfort.

When all your stocks are going down, Treasury bonds, foreign currencies, and gold can provide you with a safety cushion.

From Fortune

So be as soft a cushion as you can without muffling the truth.

The chairs have dense cushions and a footrest bar for kicking back and relaxing.

With non-slip material and an elastic band, this seat cushion is suitable for any chair.

His bandaged leg rests, slightly elevated, on a bloodstained cushion borrowed from a couch.

I could give my parents this relief, this cushion that they never had.

Instead, she has reportedly narrowed the choice down to cushion-cut diamonds, over five carats, priced at $100,000 or more.

I said that if the process ever breaks down, we will not have build up any relationships that could possibly cushion the blow.

Holding down the seat cushion, the Sullivans imagine Alex is there.

A few scratches here and there marred the polish of the frame and one cushion had sustained an ugly rent.

Jess made a cushion for it out of grass and laid it on top of the kettle full of treasures.

Having uttered these words he made a sign to his treasurer who presented on a cushion a crown of gold to the young girl.

Then as suddenly she turned around and came back, and very carefully shoved a cushion under the man's feet.

Its water in a general way moves as does a billiard ball when it flies from one cushion to another.


Related Words

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More About Cushion

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




Cushing's syndromecushion cut