• WordNet 3.6
    • n couvade a custom among some peoples whereby the husband of a pregnant wife is put to bed at the time of bearing the child
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Couvade A custom, among certain barbarous tribes, that when a woman gives birth to a child her husband takes to his bed, as if ill. "The world-wide custom of the couvade , where at childbirth the husband undergoes medical treatment, in many cases being put to bed for days."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n couvade A custom, reported in ancient as well as modern times among some of the primitive races in all parts of the world, in accordance with which, after the birth of a child, the father takes to bed, and receives the delicacies and careful attention usually given among civilized people to the mother. The custom was observed, according to Diodorus, among the Corsicans; and Strabo notices it among the Spanish Basques, by whom, as well as by the Gascons, it is said still to be practised. Travelers, from Marco Polo downward, have reported a somewhat similar custom among the Siamese, the Dyaks of Borneo, the negroes, the aboriginal tribes of North and South America, etc.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Couvade kōō-väd′ a custom among savages in many parts of the world for the father to take to his bed at the birth of a child, and submit to certain restrictions of food, &c.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. couver,. See Covey
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Erroneously attributed to the Basques; the O. Fr. couvade, from couver, to hatch, never having had this special meaning.


In literature:

The custom of the Couvade may therefore perhaps be assigned to the early patriarchal stage.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India--Volume I (of IV)" by R.V. Russell
Those who would know more may consult an Encyclopaedia, under the heading 'Couvade.
"The Woodlands Orchids" by Frederick Boyle
These allusions always refer to the Bearnais, the dialect whence the word "couvade" is borrowed.
"Basque Legends" by Wentworth Webster
This is perhaps a relic of the custom of the Couvade.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India" by R. V. Russell