from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A usually rectangular pad of heavy cloth filled with soft material or an arrangement of coiled springs, used as or on a bed.
  • noun An airtight inflatable pad used as or on a bed or as a cushion.
  • noun A closely woven mat of brush and poles used to protect an embankment, a dike, or a dam from erosion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bed consisting of a bag filled with straw, hair, moss, sponge, husks, excelsior, or other soft and elastic material, and usually quilted or tacked with transverse cords at short intervals to prevent the contents from slipping.
  • noun In hydraulic engineering, a mat or mass of brushwood, willow rods, light poles, or other like material, roughly woven or tied together and used to form foundations for dikes and jetties, or as aprons, fencing, curtains, or surfacing for dikes, dams, embankments, and similar constructions, either for assisting to hold together loose material or to prevent injury by the erosion of water.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A large pad stuffed with hair, moss, or other suitable soft material, and quilted or otherwise fastened, used as or in a bed, to support the human body while lying down.
  • noun (Hydraulic Engin.) A mass of interwoven brush, poles, etc., to protect a bank from being worn away by currents or waves.
  • noun A variety of mattress{1} having springs inside to provide a flexible support; it is considered more comfortable than a stuffed mattress.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A pad on which a person can recline and sleep, usually having an inner section of coiled springs covered with foam or other cushioning material then enclosed with cloth fabric.
  • noun A form of retaining wall used to support foundations or an embankment

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

  • noun a large thick pad filled with resilient material and often incorporating coiled springs, used as a bed or part of a bed


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

[Middle English mattresse, from Old French materas, from Old Italian materasso and from Medieval Latin matracium, both from Arabic maṭraḥ, place where something is thrown, mat, cushion, from ṭaraḥa, to throw; see ṭrḥ in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English materas, from Old French, from Arabic مطرح (máʈraħ, "place where something is thrown"), from طرح (ʈáraħa, "to throw").


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  • Some mattress names from the catalogue that turned up in the junk mail yesterday:

    sapphire essence


    chiro conformity


    ultimate dream


    spine align

    nature's touch

    and the rather enticingly named

    sports performance.

    June 8, 2012

  • All those names sound kind of scary, but in very different ways. I really don't see why anyone would want conformity or sports in their bed. Spine align could be a torture method, but nature's touch is definitely the worst...

    June 8, 2012

  • I agree with deinonychus that some of the names sound really uncomfortable – a sapphire is a kind of rock after all. But this list reminds me what good sources of words catalogues and manufacturers' names for things can be.

    June 8, 2012

  • If a king and his queen go shopping for a mattress, what size do they buy?

    June 8, 2012

  • A full size?? with excelsioressense??

    June 8, 2012