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See also: Coffer


coffer (strongbox)
coffered ceiling (Pantheon, Rome)

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English cofre, coffre, from Old French cofre, coffre, from Latin cophinus (basket), from Ancient Greek κόφινος (kóphinos, basket). Doublet of coffin.



coffer (plural coffers)

  1. A strong chest or box used for keeping money or valuables safe.
    Synonym: strongbox
  2. (architecture) An ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome.
    Synonym: caisson
    • 1979, Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, Random House, p.135:
      Prolapsed and waterstained ceiling, the sagging coffers.
  3. A cofferdam.
  4. A supply or store of money, often belonging to an organization.
    • c.1610-1620 (written), 1661 (first published), Francis Bacon, Letter of Advice to the Duke of Buckingham
      He would discharge it without any great burden to the queen's coffers.
    • c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iii]:
      Hold, there is half my coffer.
    • 1909, John Claude White, Sikhim and Bhutan, page 26:
      The coffers were empty, and the first thing to be done was to devise some means by which we could raise a revenue.
  5. A trench dug in the bottom of a dry moat, and extending across it, to enable the besieged to defend it with raking fire.

Derived terms[edit]



coffer (third-person singular simple present coffers, present participle coffering, simple past and past participle coffered)

  1. (transitive) To put money or valuables in a coffer
  2. (transitive) To decorate something, especially a ceiling, with coffers.

Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of cofre