What do you call yours – sofa, couch or settee?

sofa couch or settee – One of the great things about the English language is the wealth of words we have. Its roots are in the West Germanic languages of our Saxon ancestors but the remains of Celtic and Norse languages can still be heard.  


sofa couch or settee


sofa couch or settee – Then, when you add to that the Latin words that remained from the Roman days, the French words that were brought by William the Conqueror in 1066, and the Greek, Spanish, Italian and Yiddish words we have appropriated then you realise just how rich our language is.

Indeed, it is a widely held fact that there are more English words than there are words in any other language. So, it is not surprising that there are several words alone to describe the lengthy seating area we have in our front rooms. Some call it a couch, some a sofa and others say it’s a settee. So, what is the difference, if any, between these three words?  

Some people seem to think that the difference stems from cultural origins. Couch is often used in American TV shows and films so it is often mistakenly thought to be a word of American origin. This isn’t the case and the word was probably appropriated from English.  

There seems to be some who think that what you call it distinguishes your class. Settee is assumed to be the working class word; a sofa is for the middle class and a couch for the upper classes. However, the dispute over whether a couch is a posh word or a working class term still rages and probably signifies that this debating is retroactive and not based on any real facts.  

Some opinion seems to be in favour of determining which the right word through a physical distinction is. The settee is claimed to have a higher back whereas the couch is deeper but again there is no real evidence to suggest this is the case.  

What all this seems to mean is that there is no real reason to call it a couch, a settee or a sofa other than what you feel most comfortable with. Language is a beautiful tool but part of its beauty is that it’s fluid and interchangeable. It can be any, all three or none of the above depending on what you want to call it. Now, what other words can you think of for bedroom furniture?   

This is a guest post provided by Sainsbury’s. Whatever you call your sofa, they stock an impressive range of household furniture with a great selection of armchairs and sofas. Visit their site today to find out more.


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