AskDefine | Define pouf

Dictionary Definition



1 offensive terms for an openly homosexual man [syn: fagot, faggot, fag, fairy, nance, pansy, queen, queer, poof, poove]
2 thick cushion used as a seat [syn: ottoman, pouffe, puff, hassock]

Extensive Definition

An ottoman is a piece of furniture, a padded, upholstered seat or bench having neither back nor arms, often used as a stool or footstool, or in some cases as an improvised coffee table.
An ottoman can also be known as a footstool, tuffet, hassock or pouf ( Some ottomans are hollow, in which case they are often used as blanket boxes.

Word history

The word ottoman was introduced into English in the "footstool" sense in 1806 (probably from the identical French word, which also denotes a type of textile fabric), because the ottoman's typical use in a reclining position was associated in Europe with the Orient, in line with fashionable Turkish influence since the early 18th century (when the Balkans were still partially under Ottoman rule). It is not supposed to have been invented by the Ottoman Turks (compare divan). The word Ottoman as associated with the furniture used as a footstool is widely believed to have come about in the late 18th century when the Ottomans as a people were invaded by the French. This invasion included physical punishment to include "pain walks" (loosely translated) - because of these walks Ottomans soon thereafter fashioned footstools to rest their tired extremities. These footstools later became widely popular in Europe and the term 'Ottoman' was coined to give tribute to the furniture's origin.

References in popular culture

In the opening title sequence of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick Van Dyke trips over an ottoman. A second version of the opening depicts him side-stepping the ottoman, not resulting in a trip.
A running gag on Bonanza had Ben Cartwright ask his son Little Joe "Hey, Joseph, do you know the difference between a table and an ottoman?". When Little Joe responded "Sure I do" his father declared "Then take your feet off the table!"
In the Barenaked Ladies's song "If I Had $1000000," when listing off what he would buy his love, Ed Robertson sings "I'd buy you furniture for your house," and Steven Page sings "Maybe a nice Chesterfield or an Ottoman." Another reference can be found in the Death Cab for Cutie song "Photobooth", which includes the line, "And our clothes in a pile on the ottoman". Wally from Dilbert makes an Ottoman joke in the 13/03/2007 episode.
In the Friends episode The One With The Butt, Rachel cleans the apartment, in the process moving Monica’s green Ottoman. Monica cleverly tries to hide the fact that she is obsessive by suggesting “Why don’t we see what it looks like in its old place… just to compare?”.
In the Seinfeld episode The Non-Fat Yogurt, Jerry says, "I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?"
In the Mad About You episode The Alan Brady Show, guest star Carl Reiner (reprising his role on The Dick Van Dyke Show) does a scene revolving around tripping over an ottoman.
In the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch episode Welcome Back, Duke, guest star Dick Van Dyke plays a witch who in one scene conjures an ottoman which Sabrina trips over.

Sources and references

pouf in German: Ottomane
pouf in Spanish: Reposapiés
pouf in Dutch: Poef
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