cush·​ion | \ ˈku̇-shən How to pronounce cushion (audio) \

Definition of cushion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a soft pillow or pad usually used for sitting, reclining, or kneeling
2 : a bodily part resembling a pad
3 : something resembling a cushion: such as
c : a pad of springy rubber along the inside of the rim of a billiard table
d : a padded insert in a shoe
e : an elastic body for reducing shock
f : a mat laid under a large rug to ease the effect of wear
4a : something (such as an economic factor or a medical procedure) serving to mitigate the effects of disturbances or disorders
b : a reserve supply (as of money)
c : a comfortable lead a 4–0 cushion in the ninth inning


cushioned; cushioning\ ˈku̇-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce cushioning (audio) \

Definition of cushion (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to seat or place on a cushion
2 : to suppress by ignoring
3 : to furnish with a cushion a cushioned seat
4a : to mitigate the effects of trying to cushion the blow
b : to protect against force or shock cushion the ride
5 : to check gradually so as to minimize shock of moving parts

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Other Words from cushion


cushionless \ ˈku̇-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce cushionless (audio) \ adjective
cushiony \ ˈku̇-​shə-​nē How to pronounce cushiony (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cushion

Synonyms: Noun

buffer, bumper, cocoon, cushioning, fender, pad

Synonyms: Verb

buffer, gentle, soften

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Examples of cushion in a Sentence


There is a cushion under the rug to protect the floor. We didn't have a financial cushion when my husband lost his job.


The pile of leaves helped cushion his fall. The tax cut is meant to cushion the blow of soaring gas prices.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some say it’s wedged between the couch cushions or smooshed under the dog. Evan Allgood, The New Yorker, "The Six Remotes in Your Dad’s Entertainment Center," 15 June 2019 Petsafe Solvit Houndabout Pet Bicycle Trailer: This model has two points of entry and a sunroof, reflectors on the wheels and cabin, a removable, washable cushion, extra wide wheel base, lower center-of-gravity and a safety leash. Nicole Forsyth, The Mercury News, "Dollars and Pets: Bike trailers for your pets," 6 June 2019 As the Times points out, products as far-ranging as tooth fillings, cereals, flip-flops, toilet paper, couch cushions, cosmetics, frozen oysters, headphones, kombucha, and even beloved chocolate have faced Prop 65 compliance. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "After coffee brewhaha, CA fears cancer warnings have “gone seriously wrong”," 16 Aug. 2018 Another pierced a couch cushion just to the side of where the boy was seated. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Inside A Coventry Home, Mayhem As Bullets Fly," 2 June 2018 The tax credits were supposed to provide a cushion for project loan payments while the condo units were sold. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Downtown Hartford condominium development will become rentals but not because there aren’t enough buyers, developer says," 25 June 2019 But those same forces that could drive down stock values are the same ones that should keep interest rates low; that could provide a cushion of sorts for the equity market. Stephen Gandel | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "There’s Nowhere to Hide From Trump’s Trade War," 13 May 2019 Woodland’s 3-wood from 263 yards on the par-5 14th set him up for a birdie that gave him a two-shot cushion. Eddie Pells, The Denver Post, "Brooks Koepka makes U.S. Open history, but no 3 in a row," 17 June 2019 After all, Google's advertising business brought in $136 billion in revenue in 2018, giving it the cushion to lose $3.4 billion on its far-out projects last year. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, "Alphabet is betting big on moonshots but so are startups," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beijing has increased its spending and cut taxes to help cushion the blow to its economy from the trade war. Charles Riley, CNN, "The global economy just dodged another bullet. But the US-China trade truce won't fix it," 1 July 2019 Apple is reportedly studying moving some production out of China to help cushion the cost of tariffs proposed by the Trump administration. Rachel Layne, CBS News, "For Apple, scaling back in China is easier said than done," 21 June 2019 The designers added extra cushioning to the inner heels to achieve that, meaning there's little risk of the blisters or cuts endemic to most ballet flats' early wears. Glamour, "At Long Last, Allbirds Is Making Ballet Flats," 2 May 2019 Critics accuse Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson of making empty promises — already rejected by the EU — that will send the U.K. crashing out of the 28-nation bloc without a deal to cushion the shock. Washington Post, "UK Tory contenders vow to scrap Irish border Brexit policy," 2 July 2019 Or go ahead and plant as much as possible, relying on the government payouts and perhaps some crop insurance to cushion the blow. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Low prices, floods and trade wars plague American farmers, putting their survival at risk," 6 June 2019 In fact, the Europeans are going to lengths to try to cushion the blow to the Iranians. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway talks race relations in America; Sens. Graham and Reed on Space Force and sanctions," 12 Aug. 2018 As a result of Friday’s vote, the U.K. is now scheduled to leave the EU on April 12, regardless of whether the two sides have reached an agreement to cushion the impact. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, "Britain faces calls for unity govt amid Brexit impasse," 31 Mar. 2019 As a compromise, Mr. Maassen is to be made deputy interior minister under Mr. Seehofer—a formal promotion that cushions his exit as intelligence chief—but won’t oversee his former agency, the government said. Andrea Thomas, WSJ, "Germany’s Intelligence Chief Loses Post Over Comments on Far-Right Protests," 18 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cushion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cushion


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1738, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cushion


Middle English cusshin, from Anglo-French cussin, quissin, from Vulgar Latin *coxinus, from Latin coxa hip — more at coxa

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Statistics for cushion

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for cushion

The first known use of cushion was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cushion



English Language Learners Definition of cushion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a soft object or part that is used to make something (such as a seat) more comfortable or to protect a surface from damage : a soft pillow, pad, etc.
: any one of the rubber parts that the ball bounces off along the inner edges of a billiard table
: something (such as an extra amount of money) that you can use to reduce the bad effect of something (such as an unexpected problem or expense)



English Language Learners Definition of cushion (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something, such as a fall or collision) less severe or painful : to soften or reduce the bad effect of (something)


cush·​ion | \ ˈku̇-shən How to pronounce cushion (audio) \

Kids Definition of cushion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a soft pillow or pad to rest on or against
2 : something soft like a pad Moss formed a cushion on the ground.
3 : something that serves to soften or lessen the effects of something bad or unpleasant


cushioned; cushioning

Kids Definition of cushion (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to place on or as if on a soft pillow or pad
2 : to furnish with a soft pillow or pad
3 : to soften or lessen the force or shock of The soft sand cushioned her fall.


cush·​ion | \ ˈku̇sh-ən How to pronounce cushion (audio) \

Medical Definition of cushion

1 : a bodily part resembling a pad
2 : a medical procedure or drug that eases discomfort without necessarily affecting the basic condition of the patient

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More from Merriam-Webster on cushion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cushion

Spanish Central: Translation of cushion

Nglish: Translation of cushion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cushion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cushion

What made you want to look up cushion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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