I'm reading a book in English. About emotional intelligence. When I encountered the "Proverbial Couch" phrase, I really got frustrated because I could not find the meaning in any of the dictionaries. I would appreciate if you guide me. the entire paragraph is:

Much of self-management comes down to motivation, and you can use the expectations that other people have of you as a powerful force to get you up off the proverbial couch.

1 Answer 1


Welcome to EL&U, Ali."The proverbial couch" is a reference to the term couch potato. Merriam Webster defines it as

: a lazy and inactive person especially : one who spends a great deal of time watching television

Proverbial is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as

as used in a proverb or other phrase:

So "...to get you up off the proverbial couch" means that the expectations of other people will provide you with the impetus to stop being lazy, stop being a 'couch potato' and make a success of your life.

  • 1
    I would say the couch has been proverbial – “Get up off your couch and do something” – longer than *couch potato° has been a standard phrase. May 19, 2019 at 14:59
  • @AntonSherwood Possibly, it might even be the origin of "couch potato" but I've never come across it. Could it be predominently American?
    – BoldBen
    May 20, 2019 at 0:29

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