A car seat or a park seat has two main parts. One part is the back, against which one leans their back. What is the name of the part that one actually sits on (puts their buttocks on it)? For a chair these two are called back and seat respectively. But what about a car seat or a park seat?

  • 4
    I would use the same. Please wipe the seat before you sit - PS: I have never heard of a park seat? I call it a park bench
    – mplungjan
    Oct 7, 2014 at 9:21
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    Thanks for your answers. I believe @mplungjan is right. One can call the part in question, "The seat of a car seat". About the park seat as you mentioned the correct term is "park bench". And then again one can refer to the lower part as "the seat of a park bench".
    – Shah
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:07
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    For a car, I would call it 'the seat bench'. I think that would be clear. For a park seat, I'd call it a park seat. Or park bench seat. As distinct from a park bench back.
    – Jelila
    Jan 30, 2018 at 6:22
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    To me "the seat bench" only makes sense with bench seating; for cars which have 2 separate front seats (e.g. sports cars), it's less appropriate.
    – Stuart F
    Sep 16, 2022 at 11:05

4 Answers 4


In general upholstery usage, the squab is the thickly padded cushion of a chair or sofa one sits upon, contacting the thighs and buttocks.

In North America and Europe, Squab in Vehicles is the lower seat portion.

The exception is England for automotive usage during the 1900s. In that context, squab refers to the backrest portion of the chair or side supports one may lean against. In England today, if the conversation is about antique cars or purchasing parts for them, squab refers to the backrest. If the conversation is about modern cars or their parts, squab refers to the seat bottom portion. If clarity is desired, the term squab is avoided.

  • Eg. archaic; for old Austin mini parts www.7ent.com uses squab for the back.

    Eg. modern; Oxford Dictionary Online (ODO) uses squab for the seat bottom in three examples of modern usage.

    Eg. Clarity; MINI Market-UK.com avoids any reference to a squab

    Eg. Confusion; Oxford Dictionary Online gives the definition as the padded back of a vehicle seat, then gives three examples referring to the SEAT BOTTOM portion. An internal contradiction! Note: the three examples are recent sentences in the context of modern automoboiles.


One word for a the part of a car seat that you sit on is squab.

a : couch
b : a cushion for a chair or couch


That centre front seat slides all the way back until it hits the rear-seat squab, so a child can still sit ‘in the front’, but remains sufficiently rearward not to be hit by an airbag designed to restrain an adult.


The word isn't applicable to a park bench because generally they aren't cushioned. I've only seen it used in reference to car seats, although dictionaries imply that it can be used of any seat cushion. It's not normally used for the back cushion (even though ODO does mention that).

  • When I was in my motor mechanics apprenticeship, at a Ford main dealer, the seat base, the part you sit on, was always referred to as 'the squab' and the part you leaned back on was the 'back'. Jan 7, 2020 at 23:25
  • When I drove motor coaches, in the 1980’s, the part you sat on was always described as the squab. Sep 16, 2022 at 7:56

I found a diagram illustrating a car seat and its components for a Programmable seat back damper patent

The cushion where the driver or passenger sits on is either called a horizontal cushion or seat cushion. The back of the car seat (No.16) is called the seat back but it can also be referred to as a backrest.
A support for a person’s back when they are seated Oxford Dictionaries

enter image description here

The seat 12 includes a generally horizontal seat cushion portion or seat cushion 14 and a generally upright seat back portion or seat back 16 pivotally connected to the seat cushion 14 by a seat back pivot 17. The seat cushion 14 includes a seat pan (not shown) and a cushion 18 operatively connected to the seat pan by suitable means such as an adhesive. The seat back 16 includes a seat back frame (not shown) and a cushion 20 disposed about and operatively connected to the seat back frame by suitable means such as an adhesive. (...)

Perhaps the OP was thinking of a bench seat of a car when he mentioned a park seat. It is a term which I was unfamiliar with, so I decided to include it anyway.

enter image description here

Bench seat
The bench seat was the traditional seat installed in American and Australian automobiles. This seat featured a continuous pad running the full width of the cabin. The second row of seating in most sedans is usually a bench. The third row of most SUVs and minivans, which may be forward, or rear facing is also a bench seat.

Source: Wikipedia


My father grew up in the family motor business which was founded in Southern England before he was born in 1910. He always referred to the sitting-on part of a motor seat as the squab.

@Mari-Lou A, many larger British cars of (at least) the 1950s and 1960s had a front bench seat, though I don't think that's what the OP was referring to. ,


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