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Each of these terms seem to be used to designate a room, in a private house or in the front of a public facility, where one can sit and relax and talk. But, are there any differences to them -- or do they mean just about the same and, as such, can be used interchangeably?

Also, are any of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

Aside from that, what's the difference between a drawing room, a sitting room, a lounge (room), and a parlor, to designate a generally cozy room in a private house or a restaurant where guests can be entertained, or withdraw to after a meal to sit and relax and talk (and drink too!). Is one of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

Lastly, can "living room', "sitting room", "front room", "lounge (room)", and "parlor" be used interchangeably to designate a room in a home used by the members of a household for leisure activities or to entertain guests, etc., and are any of these terms more typical of an English variety than of another?

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Also 'living room' and 'family room'! –  Chloe Mar 3 '14 at 0:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

First, according to different dictionnaries I checked in, sitting room, living room, and front room are all synonyms of lounge. However, it seems that lounge room is not recognize as a term to describe a room in a private house. It would be the expression you use in a restaurant or a public place.

Apart from that I think people would use the words differently according to the idea they want to convey about the room: for example, in my mind, a living room is more generally the place you spend most of time in (in which you take your meals, read your newspaper, or sit in your couch to watch TV). I think its quite subjective.

However, I would say that front room and parlor cannot be used indifferently. I think that a front room in a house would be the first room you find when you come in. It is "in front". A parlor sounds like a very small room in a house and I am not sure it's often use nowadays.

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Just wondering, can't the term "lounge" sound equivocal to a certain extent if the context is not specified, as long as, aside from "living room", it can also designate a piece of furniture more or less similar to a couch. –  Elian Mar 2 '14 at 19:16
@NourishedGourmet I've heard and said: settee, divan, sofa and couch; and possibly chaise longue when it was part of a sofa, but never lounge. –  Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:16
I think lounge could be "slang" for lounge chair or chaise lounge sofa. In speech, one could say: "I was sitting on the lounge having my cup of tea..." –  Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:26
@Mari-LouA Checking on FOD, "lounge" denotes a communal room in a public place, used for waiting and relaxing. The sense to it to denote a living room in a home is apparently chiefly BE. thefreedictionary.com/lounge –  Elian Mar 2 '14 at 23:41
@NourishedGourmet I'd agree with that. I don't think you'll find any dictionaries which say lounge is another term for sofa. Couch is primarily AmEng. I checked FOD, I was wrong. It is in the dictionary, must be an abbreviated form. I wouldn't say it but... –  Mari-Lou A Mar 2 '14 at 23:46

As (I think) a fairly typical middle-class English person, I use "lounge" and "living room" interchangeably, but would rarely use the rest of the words you mention. Specifically, "sitting room" and "parlor" have an old-fashioned feel to them, while "drawing room" has distinctly upper class associations, and "front room" is more typically working class (and maybe also old-fashioned too).

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Just curious, do you also use "lounge" (or lounger) to designate a "couch"? According to FOD, "lounger" can designate a couch, but also a reclining armchair. Are you familiar with either or both of these meanings? –  Elian Mar 2 '14 at 19:50
I'd use "lounger" to mean a reclining chair, but not for any other purpose. –  Jules Mar 2 '14 at 20:16
How about "lounge" for a couch? –  Elian Mar 2 '14 at 20:20
I wouldn't use it to mean that, and don't believe I've ever heard anyone using it with that meaning. –  Jules Mar 2 '14 at 20:21
Do "parlor", "sitting room", and "drawing room" sound to you more appropriate for a mansion, a chateau, or an upscale hotel, or do "parlor" and "sitting room" still have an old fashion feel to them -- even for such places? –  Elian Mar 2 '14 at 23:26

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