- a British unit of capacity usually equal to a quarter of a barrel.
- a small wooden vessel or tub for butter, lard, etc.
Origin of firkin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for firkin
Up he got from his seat upon the firkin, and his head was in the shadows of the smoky timbers.Gilian The Dreamer
He brought me a firkin of butter for my wife, which is very welcome.Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete
The firkin was brought, turned upside down, and Joe mounted it.Fighting the Sea
Edward A. Rand
Cranberries will keep all winter in a firkin of water in the cellar.The Young Housekeeper's Friend
Mrs. (Mary Hooker) Cornelius
"I hope he will not try that firkin I packed that hot week in July," Mother would say.My Boyhood
- a small wooden barrel or similar container
- British a unit of capacity equal to nine gallons
C14 fir, from Middle Dutch vierde fourth + -kin
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 firkin
"small cask, fourth part of a barrel," late 14c., apparently from Middle Dutch *vierdekijn, diminutive of vierde, literally "fourth, fourth part" (see fourth).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper