See also: Coffer

English edit

coffer (strongbox)
coffered ceiling (Pantheon, Rome)

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

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

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

coffer (plural coffers)

  1. A strong chest or box used for keeping money or valuables safe.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XIII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 163:
      "There is nothing in that," said Guido, "but a genealogy of the Carraras, drawn up by my grandfather. We have kept this little ebony coffer for the sake of its curious carving. The marriage of Cana is beautifully wrought on its lid."
    Synonym: strongbox
  2. (architecture) An ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome.
    Synonym: caisson
    • 1979, Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, Random House, page 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 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [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

Translations edit

Verb 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

Noun edit


  1. Alternative form of cofre