SOFA, a long couch with stuffed back, arms and seat, to hold two or more persons. The word is of Arabic origin, and is an adaptation of suffah, couch, from root saffa - to draw up in line. According to Richardson, Diet. of Eng. Lang. quoted by Skeat, the Arabic suffah was particularly a reclining place of wood or stone placed before the doors of Oriental houses. In the history of furniture the sofa was a development of the straight backed settee. It was not so much therefore a long chair or combination of chairs, as a seat or couch for reclining. The early 19thcentury type had a back with a single arm at one end, the other being left open. The most favoured modern form is that known as the Chesterfield, with double arms and back, heavily padded. (See also SETTEE.)
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