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See also: Coffin



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English coffyn, from Old Northern French cofin (sarcophagus", earlier "basket, coffer), from Latin cophinus (basket), a loanword from Ancient Greek κόφινος (kóphinos, a basket). Doublet of coffer.


coffin (plural coffins)

  1. A rectangular closed box in which the body of a dead person is placed for burial.
    Synonym: (US) casket
    • 20 May 2018, Hadley Freeman in The Guardian, Is Meghan Markle the American the royals have needed all along?
      I’d always found the royals a cold proposition, Diana excepted, but the sight of that little boy, his head bent, not daring to look up at his mother’s coffin in front of him was, and remains, genuinely heartbreaking.
    • 2022 September 21, “Network News: Decision not to use Royal Train sharply divides opinion”, in RAIL, number 966, page 8:
      Plans to carry the Queen's coffin from Edinburgh to London by rail were scrapped in favour of travel in a Royal Air Force cargo aircraft.
  2. (cartomancy) The eighth Lenormand card.
  3. (archaic) A casing or crust, or a mold, of pastry, as for a pie.
  4. (obsolete) A conical paper bag, used by grocers.
    • 1577, John Frampton, Joyful News out of the New Found World:
      The smoke of this Hearbe, which they receaue at the mouth through certaine coffins, suche as the Grocers do vse to put in their Spices.
  5. The hollow crust or hoof of a horse's foot, below the coronet, in which is the coffin bone.
  6. A storage container for nuclear waste.
Alternative forms[edit]
  • (box for a dead body): casket (upholstered)
Derived terms[edit]


coffin (third-person singular simple present coffins, present participle coffining, simple past and past participle coffined)

  1. (transitive) To place in a coffin.
    • 1941, Emily Carr, chapter 19, in Klee Wyck[1]:
      Indians do not hinder the progress of their dead by embalming or tight coffining.
    • 2007, Barbara Everett, “Making and Breaking in Shakespeare's Romances”, in London Review of Books, 29:6, page 21:
      The chest in which she is coffined washes ashore and is brought to the Lord Cerimon.

Etymology 2[edit]

Borrowed from Cornish koghyn (exploratory trench).


coffin (plural coffins) (Cornwall)

  1. (mining, obsolete) An exploratory trench used when first digging a mine.
  2. (by extension) A deep ditch.
Alternative forms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Middle English[edit]


coffin (plural)

  1. Alternative form of coffyn