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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.
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
  • Its pedestal was propped on the arm of the divan, and it was slanted downward to rest on the carpeted floor.
  • divan: a living room piece with a concealed bed mattress that pulls out from the seat.
  • Some occurrences have been reported where life rafts were difficult to remove from inside divan compartment.
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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Encyclopedia Article for divan


in Islamic societies, a "register," or logbook, and later a "finance department," "government bureau," or "administration." The first divan appeared under the caliph 'Umar I (634-644) as a pensions list, recording free Arab warriors entitled to a share of the spoils of war. Out of rents and property taxes exacted from conquered farmers and landowners, hereditary pensions were assigned to warriors entered in the divan. Later the term came to signify a financial institution, and, by the time of the caliphate of Mu'awiyah (661-680), it meant a government bureau, e.g., the chancellery or the postal service. Iranians used the term divan until about the 19th century to mean the central government in general, while in Mughal India, from the time of Akbar (1556-1605), the term was chiefly associated with government finance, the chief finance minister being the divan, with provincial dawawin under him. In the Ottoman Empire the divan became the imperial chancery headed by the grand vizier, though a consultative assembly of senior officials summoned by Selim I in 1515 was also called a divan. The term was early extended to mean the audience chamber of important government officers, whose offices, furnished with mattresses and cushions along the walls, account for the extension of the meaning of divan to sofa. In modern Turkey a divan is an administrative unit in rural areas

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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