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Alternative forms[edit]


From Arabic قَافِلَة(qāfila, caravan).



coffle (plural coffles)

  1. A line of people or animals fastened together, especially a chain of prisoners or slaves.
    • 1816, Mungo Park, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa:
      The people of the coffle spent the day in drying such articles as were wet, and in cleaning ten pairs of ornamented pistols with shea-butter.
    • 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin 2006, p. 173:
      If the explorer could make Kamalia he might be able to hook up with a slave coffle heading for the coast.
    • 2000, George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords, Bantam 2011, p. 323:
      Her litter came to a sudden halt at the cross street, to allow a coffle of slaves to shuffle across her path, urged along by the crack of an overseer's lash.
    • 2011, Susan Eva O'Donovan, The New York Times, 18 Feb 2011:
      It dominated late-night dinner conversation; it traveled along with marching columns of chained slaves, the infamous coffle lines that remain the iconic face of the domestic slave trade.



coffle (third-person singular simple present coffles, present participle coffling, simple past and past participle coffled)

  1. (transitive) To fasten (a line of people or animals) together.