Meaning of couvade in English:


Pronunciation /kuːˈvɑːd/


mass noun
  • The custom in some cultures in which a man takes to his bed and goes through certain rituals when his child is being born, as though he were physically affected by the birth.

    ‘The only known cure for couvade is - birth.’
    • ‘But couvade, as I attempt to untangle its relation to colonialism in this essay, is a strategy re-invented for the purposes of reconciliation in narratives of Manichean allegory.’
    • ‘In extreme forms of couvade, the man may mimic the pain and process of childbirth and expect his wife to wait on him in the following days.’
    • ‘Armin Brott discusses the whys (at least, in theory) of couvade syndrome and this research says that this condition does exist.’


Mid 19th century French, from couver ‘to hatch’, from Latin cubare ‘lie down’. The adoption of the term in French was due to a misunderstanding of the phrase faire la couvade ‘sit doing nothing’, used by earlier writers.