Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Heraldry Lying down with the head raised.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lying down; crouching.
  • adj. Represented as lying down with the head raised.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Lying down with head erect; squatting.
  • adj. Lying down with the head raised, which distinguishes the posture of couchant from that of dormant, or sleeping; -- said of a lion or other beast.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lying down; crouching; not erect.
  • Sleeping in a place; staying.
  • In heraldry, lying down with the head raised, which distinguishes the posture of couchant from that of dormant, or sleeping: applied to a lion or other beast.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lying on the stomach with head raised with legs pointed forward

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, present participle of couchier, to lie down; see couch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French couchant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “The crest is a Stag couchant, vulnerated through the neck by a broad arrow; on his side is a Martlett for a difference.”

    Kenilworth

  • In the aisle stands another altar-tomb, which has the sides panelled and adorned with shields of arms and bears the figure of an earlier Sir Thomas Markenfield, clad in armour of the period between Poitiers and Agincourt, and wearing a very curious collar of park palings with a stag couchant in front, possibly

    Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ripon A Short History of the Church and a Description of Its Fabric

  • * And if descriptivism is rampant, would prescriptivism be "couchant"?

    languagehat.com: REALLY MISPLACED.

  • In Curzon's figure the lion is standing, not 'couchant', as stated by

    Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official

  • a small pug-dog "couchant" before it, resolved to guard the treasure even at the sacrifice of life -- and a front-door standing invitingly half-open.

    Sylvie and Bruno

  • How one couchant beast, with its imperturbable gravitas, a heraldic chunk of London itself, moved without lifting a paw, from the site on the south bank of the Thames being cleared for the Festival of Britain in 1951, to Waterloo Station with its martial trappings, and on to its present eminence alongside the decommissioned County Hall.

    The Festival of Britain, 60 years on

  • Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • I asked, peering at the crest, with its faded leopard couchant, and the printing below, more legible than the handwriting.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • In one courtyard, a mangy, flea-ridden griffon lay couchant, chained to the wall, flies buzzing around its slow-blinking head.

    Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

  • The entrance to the port is still guarded by the marble statues of the two couchant lions from which it took its name, though they are now half-buried in alluvial earth, symbols of the illustrious city that Herodotus called "the glory of Ionia."

    'Aladdin's Lamp'

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  • Then these little sly rogues, how they lie couchant, ready to spring upon us harmless fellows the moment we are in their reach!

    Lovelace to Belford, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    December 15, 2007