/di van", -vahn"/ or, esp. for 1, /duy"van/, n.
1. a sofa or couch, usually without arms or back, often usable as a bed.
2. a long, cushioned seat, usually without arms or back, placed against a wall, as in Oriental countries.
3. a council of state in Turkey and other countries of the Middle East.
4. any council, committee, or commission.
5. (in the Middle East)
a. a council chamber, judgment hall, audience chamber, or bureau of state.
b. a large building used for some official or public purpose, as a custom house.
6. a smoking room, as in connection with a tobacco shop.
7. a collection of poems, esp. a collection in Arabic or Persian of poems by one poet.
[1580-90; < Turk < Pers diwan, orig. devan booklet (whence account book, office, council, bench)]
/di van"/, adj. (esp. of chicken or turkey breast)
sliced and baked in a casserole with broccoli and hollandaise sauce.
[of uncert. orig.; perh. a representation in E sp. of F divin DIVINE]

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▪ Islamic government unit
also spelled  diwan , or  dewan , Arabic  dīwān 

      in Islāmic societies, a “register,” or logbook, and later a “finance department,” “government bureau,” or “administration.” The first divan appeared under the caliph ʿUmar I (634–644) as a pensions list, recording free Arab warriors entitled to a share of the spoils of war. Out of rents and property taxes exacted from conquered farmers and landowners, hereditary pensions were assigned to warriors entered in the divan. Later the term came to signify a financial institution, and, by the time of the caliphate of Muʿāwiyah (661–680), it meant a government bureau, e.g., the chancellery or the postal service. Iranians used the term divan until about the 19th century to mean the central government in general, while in Mughal India, from the time of Akbar (1556–1605), the term was chiefly associated with government finance, the chief finance minister being the divan, with provincial dawāwīn under him. In the Ottoman Empire the divan became the imperial chancery headed by the grand vizier, though a consultative assembly of senior officials summoned by Selim I in 1515 was also called a divan. The term was early extended to mean the audience chamber of important government officers, whose offices, furnished with mattresses and cushions along the walls, account for the extension of the meaning of divan to sofa. In modern Turkey a divan is an administrative unit in rural areas.

      The English East India Company, during its period of administration in India, called its revenue administration “dewanee.”

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Universalium. 2010.

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