throw pillows

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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throw pillows

Post by marsha » Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:46 pm

What is the origin of the term throw pillow?
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throw pillows

Post by Ken Greenwald » Thu Jan 20, 2005 7:33 pm

Marsha, Random House defined a 'throw pillow' (1955-60) as “a small pillow placed on a chair, couch, etc., primarily for decoration.” The Oxford English Dictionary also provided the synonyms ‘throw cushion’ and ‘scatter cushion’ (North American). And the idea I am getting is that the sense of ‘throw’ here is that the pillows/cushions are ‘thrown’ or ‘scattered’ about decoratively, as opposed to the bulkier pillows and cushions that you sit on, on a couch for example, that are more substantial and less portable, and which are not merely there for looks. Similarly we also have ‘throw rugs’ (1925-30) or ‘scatter rugs’ (1930-35), which again are small, easily movable, and largely decorative (usually placed in front of a chair or table). And then, to add to the ‘scatter’ list, there are also ‘scatter pins,’ those small, ornamental pins which might be worn by women on a blouse or suit jacket.
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throw pillows

Post by Phil White » Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:21 pm

Interesting that OED gives "scatter cushions" as North American. As a Brit, it's the only term I know for those things you never know what to do with when you are a guest in someone's house.
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throw pillows

Post by chriscane » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:06 pm

On BBCAmerica (a cable network here) There's a great episode of "Couplings" a Brit Comedy where Steve is obliged to shop for furniture for his new home with Susan and he does a great soliloqy on the "uselessness" of throw cushions. When a guest sits down, he normally picks up the throw cushion and moves it away. There's no doubt that throw cushions are solely used as decorations and have no practical purpose whatsoever.
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Re: throw pillows

Post by Eric N » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:08 pm

Although its an old post but I must say here that this term is mostly use in Australia for cushions of bedding! Like you can see the example http://www.rushk.com.au/rapee here and there is a category of throw pillows and cushions as well!
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