THE living-room in a German household always contains a large sofa at one side of the room, which is the seat of honor accorded a guest. At a Kaffeeklatsch (literally, coffee gossip) the guests of honor are seated on this sofa, and the large round table is wheeled up before them. The other guests seat themselves in chairs about the table. [Mary Alden Hopkins, "A 'Kaffeeklatsch,'" "Boston Cooking-School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics," May 1905]
mid-14c., "a bed," from Old French couche "a bed, lair" (12c.), from coucher "to lie down," from Latin collocare (see couch (v.)). From mid-15c. as "a long seat upon which one rests at full length." Traditionally, a couch has the head end only raised, and only half a back; a sofa has both ends raised and a full back; a settee is like a sofa but may be without arms; an ottoman has neither back nor arms, nor has a divan, the distinctive feature of which is that it goes against a wall.
As symbolic of a psychiatric treatment or psychoanalysis, by 1952. Couch potato first recorded 1979.
1640s, "a gathering into a bundle," verbal noun from bundle (v.). Meaning "sharing a bed for the night, fully dressed, wrapped up with someone of the opposite sex" (1782) is a former local custom in New England (especially Connecticut and southeastern Massachusetts). It was noted there from about 1750s and often regarded by outsiders as grossly immoral, but New Englanders wrote defenses of it and claimed it was practiced elsewhere, too. It seems to have died out with the 18th century.
I am no advocate for temptation; yet must say, that bundling has prevailed 160 years in New England, and, I verily believe, with ten times more chastity than the sitting on a sofa. I had daughters, and speak from near forty years' experience. Bundling takes place only in cold seasons of the year—the sofa in summer is more dangerous than the bed in winter. [The Rev. Samuel Peters, "A general history of Connecticut," 1782]
"suspended covering serving as protection or shelter," late 14c., canope, from Old French conope "bed-curtain" (Modern French canapé), from Medieval Latin canopeum, a dissimilatiion of Latin conopeum "mosquito curtain,"from Greek konopeion "Egyptian couch with mosquito curtains," from konops "mosquito, gnat," which is of unknown origin; perhaps from Egyptian hams (with a hard "h") "gnat," and altered in Greek by folk-etymology.
The same word (canape) in French, Spanish, and Portuguese has taken the other part of the Greek sense and now means "sofa, couch." Italian canape is a French loan word.