[kaw-fer, kof-er]


a box or chest, especially one for valuables.
coffers, a treasury; funds: The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.
any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.
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)

to deposit or lay up in or as in a coffer or chest.
to ornament with coffers or sunken panels.

Origin of coffer

1250–1300; Middle English cofre < Old FrenchLatin cophinus basket; see coffin
Related formscof·fer·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for coffers

treasury, exchequer, case, strongbox, chest, casket, repository

Examples from the Web for coffers

Contemporary Examples of coffers

Historical Examples of coffers

  • Never had the coffers of the Holy See been fuller than at this moment.

  • The funds so realized go into the coffers of the Church, which is fit and proper.

  • Silver, gold, banknotes,—each and all were swept into the coffers of the "bank."

    Peak and Prairie

    Anna Fuller

  • For the same reasons other financiers have closed their coffers to the sugar-planters.

  • It must be 10,000 piastres at least in the coffers of the Terra Santa.


    Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for coffers



a chest, esp for storing valuables
(usually plural) a store of money
Also called: caisson, lacuna an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, etc
a watertight box or chamber
  1. short for cofferdam
  2. a recessed panel in a concrete, metal, or timber soffit

verb (tr)

to store, as in a coffer
to decorate (a ceiling, dome, etc) with coffers

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for coffers



mid-13c., from Old French cofre "a chest" (12c., Modern French coffre), from Latin cophinus "basket" (see coffin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper