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Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /kwɑf/, /kɔɪf/
    Rhymes: -ɒf, -ɔɪf
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Particularly: "other pronunciations, esp. UK English"

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English coif, coife, coyf, coyfe, coyffe, from Old French coife, coiffe, from Late Latin cofia, from Proto-West Germanic *kuffju, related to Old High German kupphia, kupha, kupfe (mug, hood, cap), from Proto-Germanic *kuppijǭ (cap, hat , bonnet, headpiece), Proto-Germanic *kuppō (vat, mug, cup), from pre-Germanic *kubná-, from Proto-Indo-European *gup- (round object, knoll), from Proto-Indo-European *gew-, *gū- (to bend, curve, arch, vault). Cognate with Middle High German kupfe (cap, headgear, helmet).


coif (plural coifs)

  1. A hairdo.
  2. (historical) A hood; a close-fitting cap covering much of the head, widespread until the 18th century; after that worn only by small children and country women.
  3. (historical) An item of chain mail headgear.
  4. An official headdress, such as that worn by certain judges in England.
    • 1744, Henry Brooke, The Temple of Hymen:
      From point and saucy ermine down / To the plain coif and russet gown.
    • c. 1620, Francis Bacon, letter of advice to Sir George Villiers
      The judges, [] although they are not of the first magnitude, nor need be of the degree of the coif, yet are they considerable.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English coifen, from Old French coifier, from the noun (see above).


coif (third-person singular simple present coifs, present participle coiffing or coifing, simple past and past participle coiffed or coifed)

  1. (transitive) To style or arrange hair.
    • 1925, Ezra Pound, Canto I:
      Circe’s this craft, the trim-coifed goddess.




From Late Latin cofia. Compare French coiffe.


coif n (plural coifuri)

  1. casque

See also[edit]