[kaw-fin, kof-in]
See more synonyms for coffin on
  1. the box or case in which the body of a dead person is placed for burial; casket.
  2. the part of a horse's foot containing the coffin bone.
  3. Printing.
    1. the bed of a platen press.
    2. the wooden frame around the bed of an early wooden press.
verb (used with object)
  1. to put or enclose in or as in a coffin.

Origin of coffin

1300–50; Middle English cofin < Old North French < Latin cophinus < Greek kóphinos a kind of basket
Related formscof·fin·less, adjectiveun·cof·fin, verb (used with object)


[kaw-fin, kof-in]
  1. Levi,1798–1877, U.S. abolitionist leader.
  2. Robert P(eter) Tristram,1892–1955, U.S. poet, essayist, and biographer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for coffin

crate, sarcophagus, casket, pall, catafalque

Examples from the Web for coffin

Contemporary Examples of coffin

Historical Examples of coffin

  • So he lay down in the coffin but no sooner was he inside when bang!

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Then he called for his servants and ordered them to throw the coffin into the Nile.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Maybe yourself and Eamon would make a coffin when the sun rises.

  • They left it on her breast, in the coffin, and it went with that guilty woman to the tomb.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Else why should the bearers stagger, as they tremulously uphold the coffin?

    Main Street

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for coffin


  1. a box in which a corpse is buried or cremated
  2. the part of a horse's foot that contains the coffin bone
  1. (tr) to place in or as in a coffin
  2. engineering another name for flask (def. 6)

Word Origin for coffin

C14: from Old French cofin, from Latin cophinus basket; see coffer
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 coffin

early 14c., "chest or box for valuables," from Old French cofin "sarcophagus," earlier "basket, coffer" (12c., Modern French coffin), from Latin cophinus "basket, hamper" (source of Italian cafano, Spanish cuebano "basket"), from Greek kophinos "a basket," of uncertain origin.

Funeral sense in English is 1520s; before that it was the literal Latin one and had also a meaning of "pie crust" (late 14c.). Meaning "vehicle regarded as unsafe" is from 1830s. Coffin nail "cigarette" is slang from 1880; nail in (one's) coffin "thing that contributes to one's death" is from 1792.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper