Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach
redscharlach

I've started so I'll furnish...

For no real reason other than to satisfy my own gnawing curiosity, I'd like to enlist your help with a piece of vocabulary research. But before you jump into the nearest tickybox, please point your eyes at the following informative diagram:


What would YOU call the item marked Exhibit A?


Poll #1669485 The Wherever-I-Lay-My-Feet Survey

What would YOU call Exhibit A? (Tick more than one box if needed.)

A footrest
64(16.4%)
A footstool
109(27.9%)
A hassock
14(3.6%)
An ottoman
87(22.3%)
A pouffe (or pouf)
69(17.6%)
A tuffet
7(1.8%)
Something else, which I will tell you in a comment
3(0.8%)
DECADENT LUXURY! When I was young, we used to rest our feet on broken glass AND WE WERE GRATEFUL!
38(9.7%)


I always find it quite interesting when the same relatively simple concept has more than one word to describe it and yet nobody can decide on which one to use.

When I was growing up, this was most definitely a pouffe, but I fear that time has taken its toll on this most sitcommy of words. These days, therefore, I might be more likely to call it a footrest, or perhaps a footstool. I'd edge in favour of footstool if it had legs, but I deliberately drew one that didn't, to deepen the dilemma for you.

You see, it came to my attention this week that ALL the other options I've listed are apparently used somewhere in the English-speaking world, but I'm not sure exactly where these linguistic dividing lines are. To me, a tuffet is the grassy knoll that Miss Muffet sat on, and nothing else, a hassock is something you only find in churches, and an ottoman is a bigger chest-like piece of furniture that you can use for storage, although it might also have a padded lid to sit on. But to you, one of those words might well describe Exhibit A and I'm the strange person for thinking that it's strange. Isn't language fascinating?

So let's have a go at drawing up a definitive map of international furniture vocabulary. And if we fail, let's all imagine sitting down for a moment and putting our collective feet up. That much, I'm sure we can manage...
Tags: trivia
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