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See more synonyms for firkin on Thesaurus.com
  1. a British unit of capacity usually equal to a quarter of a barrel.
  2. a small wooden vessel or tub for butter, lard, etc.
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Origin of firkin

1400–50; late Middle English ferdkyn, firdekyn, equivalent to ferde (variant of ferthe fourth) + -kin -kin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for firkin

cask, pipe, cylinder, drum, keg, kettle, jar, pot, crate, packet, vessel, dish, storage, bowl, carton, jug, pail, utensil, vase, capsule

Examples from the Web for firkin

Historical Examples of firkin

  • Up he got from his seat upon the firkin, and his head was in the shadows of the smoky timbers.

    Gilian The Dreamer

    Neil Munro

  • He brought me a firkin of butter for my wife, which is very welcome.

  • 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

    John Burroughs

British Dictionary definitions for firkin


  1. a small wooden barrel or similar container
  2. British a unit of capacity equal to nine gallons
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Word Origin for firkin

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper