Discussion in 'Research' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Oct 25, 2015.
Do people in the USA know the term 'Divan bed'?
Or do you call them something different?
Near as I can tell, that's what's known here as a box-spring bed, or mostly, just a 'bed'.
Damn. I need another word for a cheap bed, which contrasts with a four poster bed with lace, which would indicate poorer people. Box-spring bed, that doesn't quite work.
Over here we call that a 'folding bed'. I think I'm going to have to solve this problem a different way. I want a description that works internationally.
I am from the US and I know what a divan is. What is more I use them in my fantasy setting frequently. Maybe a fainting couch or a chaise would be a more common/international way of describing it, though those are more luxurious-sounding than cheap. Perhaps simply 'couch', or trundle bed, which is less like a divan but cheaper-seeming?
Pallet bed, or just 'pallet'. Divan sounds fancy or aristocratic to my American ear.
Does it actually have to be a specific kind of bed, or are you just looking for an impromptu, inexpensive bed? For the second, I think that "futon on the floor" would ring that bell with Americans.
Here in the UK, a futon would be middle class. I was hoping to make a point comparing the richest in society and the poorest. With the beds being the key to the discussion. I think I have to put this problem aside and look at it later. It seems that bed language is quite different in the US and UK.
Thanks to everyone who posted.
I think that's the difficulty; there may not be a truly international option.
The problem may be in part that in the US, poverty and moderate wealth aren't tightly linked--in fact, they may not be linked at all--to the size of one's living space. It's still a huge country, with a huge variability in the cost of land. Only extreme wealth will always have plenty of space.
(Edited to add: I'm reminded of an ad I saw not too long ago in a San Francisco Bay Area publication: "I always wanted to live in a million-dollar house, I just thought it would have more than a thousand square feet.")
I live in a quite small house in an expensive small town. If I drive fifteen minutes down the road to the next town, people with lower incomes are living in much larger houses, on lots several times the size of ours. So I'm more likely to have a divan bed or chaise or foldout couch or futon couch in a little den that doubles as a guest room, while they're more likely to have a full-sized guest room with a full-sized bed. People with even lower incomes are likely to be sharing one of those big houses with a couple of other adults, again with each of them having a full-sized bedroom.
On the other hand, someone who makes half a million a year in Manhattan might be living in a small one-room studio. I find myself thinking of the phrase "bed-sit" in British novels--I assume that it's the same one-room living situation that we call a studio, but in the British novels it has an air of relative poverty, while in the US it may mean a small space in an expensive area--not always, but often enough that just the word has no air of poverty.
Another possibility: What about a mattress on the floor?
When I hear "divan" I think of a luxurious Turkish couch-like furniture made for sitting and enjoyment (the word originates from Persian language). I never knew "divan" is a name for a cheep bed in UK. I think that, if you're planning to keep the international context in mind, you should also look at the original meaning of the word. From Wiki: "Divans received this name because they were generally found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers of a bureau called divan or diwan (from Persian, meaning a government council or office, from the bundles of papers they processed, and next their council chambers)."
It's going to have to be a "plain wooden bed" to compare to the lacy four poster. As it's a 100 word story, I'm going to have to find another word to remove!
A divan in the UK is usually a bed that has a mattress on top (indeed!) but has pull-out drawers below. The sides to the bed go nearly to the floor, and the legs are very short (with or without drawers.) A divan is the kind of bed you can't crawl underneath.
I've never heard of a divan bed until this thread. I thought a divan was a couch with one side turned up like the back of a chair.
Terms for cheap beds in the US:
mattress on the floor
cheap metal frame bed
Not all sofa beds have futon mattresses:
No ...the couch with one end turned up, as in your picture, is called a chaise longue. Obviously a French term, but that's the one used here in the UK. What it's called elsewhere I have no idea. But divan, in the UK, is exactly as I described. It's one of those terms everybody understands here. If your bed is a 'divan' that is what they mean.
Just to cause trouble: Wood wouldn't be the cheapest thing in the US. When we were moving up from a futon on the floor, we got a twin mattress on a basic metal frame with no headboard or footboard, like this one:
I still vote for a mattress on the floor...but that would add another word.
I still vote for pallet. It's literally defined as a 'rough or makeshift bed' and it's only one word long.
That's it! That's what people in these parts of the world think of when they hear "divan".
Divan is definitely upper class furniture in my experience.
In the end I went with 'old mattress on the floor'. Thanks @ChickenFreak.
The story was accepted and will appear online shortly. However, this is a website with a very high acceptance rate. I've enjoyed reading other stories on that site, so feel happy to be part of it.
What magazine is it? Congrats!
I don't think 'divan' really has a meaning. Maybe if you work in advertising? Wife says it is the horrible cardboard section under our emperor mattress, I have long feet.
Horrible cardboard section was what I was thinking of But, the meaning of the word varies too much to too many people, so I couldn't use it.
Here on the left coast of the US, a chaise lounge to me is the outdoor chair you lay by the pool in.
A bed with drawers in the base is called a Captain's bed.
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