large pad for supporting the reclining body, used as or on a bed

A mattress is a mat or pad, usually placed on top of a bed, where somebody sleeps or lies on. It usually contains compliant things such as feathers, cotton and foam rubber. Many have springs inside.

A pillow top queen-size mattress.

The word mattress came from Arabic words meaning "to throw" and "place where something is thrown" or "mat, cushion." During the Crusades, Europeans slept on cushions thrown on the floor, and the word materas eventually became Middle English through the Romance languages.[1]


  1. "Mattress: Word History." Archived 2007-03-23 at the Wayback Machine The American Heritage Dictionary.