See also: Coffer


coffer (strongbox)
coffered ceiling (Pantheon, Rome)

Alternative formsEdit


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 termsEdit



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 readingEdit

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of cofre