[ kaw-fer, kof-er ]
See synonyms for: coffercoffers on

  1. a box or chest, especially one for valuables.

  2. coffers, a treasury; funds: The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.

  1. any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.

  2. Also called caisson, lacunar .Architecture. one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit.

verb (used with object)
  1. to deposit or lay up in or as in a coffer or chest.

  2. to ornament with coffers or sunken panels.

Origin of coffer

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English cofre, from Old French, ultimately from Latin cophinus “basket”; see coffin

Other words from coffer

  • cof·fer·like, adjective

Words Nearby coffer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use coffer in a sentence

  • Hutch is an old word for chest or coffer, chiefly used now in the compound ‘rabbit-hutch.’

    Milton's Comus | John Milton
  • Then King Loc ordered another coffer to be opened, in which were only pearls.

    Honey-Bee | Anatole France
  • When at last his rage subsided, he clasped his hands together and bent over the coffer once more.

    Ponce de Leon | William Pilling
  • With a hollow groan he fell forward over the coffer, striking his head upon the floor.

    Ponce de Leon | William Pilling
  • He took out the coffer and opened it; from it there fell out an apple, which rolled towards the couch.

British Dictionary definitions for coffer


/ (ˈkɒfə) /

  1. a chest, esp for storing valuables

  2. (usually plural) a store of money

  1. Also called: caisson, lacuna an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, etc

  2. a watertight box or chamber

    • short for cofferdam

    • a recessed panel in a concrete, metal, or timber soffit

  1. to store, as in a coffer

  2. to decorate (a ceiling, dome, etc) with coffers

Origin of coffer

C13: from Old French coffre, from Latin cophinus basket, from Greek kophinos

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012