cofferdam


cof·fer·dam

noun \-ˌdam\

Definition of COFFERDAM

1
:  a watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the bottom of a body of water and permit construction (as of a pier)
2
:  a watertight structure for making repairs below the waterline of a ship

First Known Use of COFFERDAM

1736

cofferdam

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the bed of a body of water in order to permit the construction of a pier or other hydraulic work. Cofferdams are made by driving metal sheetpiling (a series of thin, interlocking panels) into the bed to form a watertight fence. Roman engineers used cofferdams to found the piers of their arch bridges and aqueducts. See also caisson.

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