couch surf

intransitive verb

variants or less commonly couch-surf
couch surfed also couch-surfed; couch surfing also couch-surfing; couch surfs also couch-surfs
1
a
: to stay overnight with a series of hosts who typically provide basic accommodations (such as a couch to sleep on) at no cost
It is hard to figure out just how many people … experience a period of homelessness in their lifetime. There are families doubled up with other families, unaccompanied youth couch surfing and chronically homeless people tucked away in the most discreet corners of the city. Ashleigh Eubanks, Beat of the Street, March 2013
Precise numbers for the homeless youth population are not known because young people are highly mobile and many couch-surf among relatives and friends, stay out on the streets or return home. Mireya Navarro, The New York Times, 27 Mar. 2015
b
: to stay for free with a local host or series of hosts while traveling
She said that she first couch-surfed four years ago, as a broke college student eager to see Austria but not without a companion. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2012
My friend Doc and I embarked on a two-month poetry tour, performing in bars and coffeeshops as we couch surfed up and down the east coast and throughout the Midwest. Lindsay King-Miller, The Huffington Post, 19 Mar. 2015
2
: to spend time on a couch watching television
The commercials are colorful and full of happy and healthy people. Exercise and you can have a treat, the commercials say. Couch surf all day and perhaps a salad and a water are better choices. Carin Lane, The Times Union (Albany, New York), 7 Apr. 2015
couch surfer noun
or less commonly couch-surfer
The [couchsurfing.org] site has also evolved into a social network of sorts. Travelers already staying on someone's couch use it to meet other local people for coffee or a meal. Local hosts sometimes invite couch surfers staying in the area to an impromptu gathering for food and drinks. Jim Winnerman, The St. Louis (Missouri) Post-Dispatch, 19 May 2013
Ad personalization—routine for most of the Web—has come to streaming television. Now, couch surfer A might see a car commercial while couch surfer B gets an ad for insurance. Donna Howell, Investor's Business Daily, 11 Mar. 2015
couch surfing noun
or less commonly couch-surfing
If you do not see yourself as a tourist, want to live like a local for a while or simply do not have the cash for a hotel, then couch surfing is the way to go. The website puts a face on a place by allowing travelers and hosts to set up profiles and swap messages about travel arrangements. John Wendle, Time, 1 May 2012

Word History

First Known Use

1989, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of couch surf was in 1989

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Cite this Entry

“Couch surf.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/couch%20surf. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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