Green’s Dictionary of Slang

couch v.

1. to lie (down).

[UK]Skelton Colyn Cloute (1550) Biiii: Lodged in the strawe Couching your drousy heddes Sometyme in lousy beddes.
[Ire]Stanyhurst Of Virgil his Æneis I: With food they summond theyre force: and coucht in a meddow.
[UK]Shakespeare Merchant of Venice V i: I should wish it dark, That I were couching with the doctor’s clerk.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: O I wud lib all the lightmans. O I woud lib all the darkmans [...] And scour the queer cramp ring, And couch till a palliard docked my dell.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canters Dict.’ in Eng. Villainies (9th edn).
[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 48: Couch, To lye or sleep.
[Ire]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn).
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 19: To lie down – Couch.

2. (US) to lounge around on the couch (watching television) [couch potato under couch n.].

S. Onega Refracting the Canon 131: You are doing yourself intellectual good by watching them [i.e. highbrow movies], not just couching-out before the TV.

In phrases

couch a hogshead (v.) (also couch a cod’s head) [SE hogshead, comparing the sleeper to a recumbent pig/cod’s head n.; Ribton-Turner, A History of Vagrants (1887), suggests Welsh hepiad, hephun, a slumber or doze]

(UK Und.) to lie down and sleep.

[UK]Cocke Lorelles Bote Ci: Some couched a hogges head under a hatche.
[UK]J. Heywood Proverbs II Ch. ii: And in meane tyme my akyng head to ease, / I wyll couche a hogs hed.
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 84: to couch a hogshead, to lye downe and sleepe.
[UK]Marriage of Wit and Science IV i: studye: I haue more neede to take a nappe in my bedde. will: Do soe and, here you, couche a coddes hedde.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching Ch. 24: The other sorte that haue no slates, but tumble downe, and couch a hogshead in their clothes.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 1: The Canters Dictionary To Couch a Hogshead, to lye downe a sleepe.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: Then we’ll couch a hogshead under the ruffmans.
[UK]Dekker ‘Canting Song’ in Eng. Villainies (8th edn) [as cit. 1608].
[UK]R. Brome Jovial Crew II i: Make a retreat into the Skipper; / And couch a Hogs-head, till the dark man’s.
[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 37: The fumes of drink had now ascended into their brain, wherefore they coucht a Hogs-head, and went to sleep.
[Ire] ‘The Rogues . . . praise of his Stroling Mort’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 19: Couch a hogshead with me than, / In the Darkmans clip and kiss.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] To Couch a Hogshead, to lye down asleep.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Couch a hogshead c. to go to Bed.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 198: [as cit. a.1674].
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 105: They betook to a barn not far off, where they couched a Hogshead in the Darkman’s, and went to Sleep.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 19: To go to sleep – Couch a Hogshead.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[Scot]W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 311: ‘We’ll couch a hogshead, and so better had you.’ They retired to repose, accordingly.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 313/2: to couch a hogshead, [...] se coucher.