Cocktail Table/Coffee Table

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 07, 2004

This morning I heard a furniture store ad on the radio, and they were advertising "cocktail tables", among other items. It struck me as odd, because although in our house when I was growing up we always referred to the long, low table in front of the sofa as the "cocktail table", I've noticed that most people say "coffee table".

I wonder which is more common? Could one of the other be regional? I can't believe there's an actual difference (that they are distinct types of tables). I grew up in metropolitan New Jersey near New York City, from the early 1960's on...