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[dih-van, -vahn or especially for 1, dahy-van] /dɪˈvæn, -ˈvɑn or especially for 1, ˈdaɪ væn/
a sofa or couch, usually without arms or back, often usable as a bed.
a long, cushioned seat, usually without arms or back, placed against a wall, as in Oriental countries.
a council of state in Turkey and other countries of the Middle East.
any council, committee, or commission.
  1. a council chamber, judgment hall, audience chamber, or bureau of state.
  2. a large building used for some official or public purpose, as a custom house.
a smoking room, as in connection with a tobacco shop.
a collection of poems, especially a collection in Arabic or Persian of poems by one poet.
Origin of divan1
1580-90; < Turkish < Persian dīwān, orig. dēvan booklet (whence account book, office, council, bench)


[dih-van] /dɪˈvæn/
adjective, (esp. of chicken or turkey breast)
sliced and baked in a casserole with broccoli and hollandaise sauce.
of uncertain origin; perhaps a representation in E spelling of French divin divine Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for divan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Domini exclaimed impulsively, and leaning forward on the divan.

    The Garden Of Allah Robert Hichens
  • She took a seat on the divan, and neither of them spoke a word.

    Rene Mauperin Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt
  • She limped over to the divan upon which Cornelius Allendyce sat.

    Red-Robin Jane Abbott
  • The new minister sat in the divan on the right hand of his master.

  • As soon as the king had left the divan, all the mandarins and doctors complimented Khalaf upon his wit and understanding.

  • Then he had sat down on the divan with his head in his hands.

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • Was he absolutely in an Eastern divan, with the slight addition of all the London periodicals?

    The Warden Anthony Trollope
  • At the same time she took her seat on the divan, and asked me to sit by her.

    Athelstane Ford Allen Upward
British Dictionary definitions for divan


  1. a backless sofa or couch, designed to be set against a wall
  2. a bed resembling such a couch
(esp formerly) a room for smoking and drinking, as in a coffee shop
  1. a Muslim law court, council chamber, or counting house
  2. a Muslim council of state
a collection of poems
(in Muslim law) an account book
Also called (for senses 2–5) diwan
Word Origin
C16: from Turkish dīvān, from Persian dīwān
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 divan

1580s, "Oriental council of state," from Turkish divan, from Arabic diwan, from Persian devan "bundle of written sheets, small book, collection of poems" (as in the "Divan i-Hafiz"), related to debir "writer."

Sense evolved through "book of accounts," to "office of accounts," "custom house," "council chamber," then to "long, cushioned seat," such as are found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers (see couch). The sofa/couch sense was taken into English 1702; the "book of poems" sense in 1823.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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