cof·​fer | \ ˈkȯ-fər How to pronounce coffer (audio) , ˈkä- \

Definition of coffer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : chest Among the items at the auction was an 18th-century oak coffer. especially : strongbox put the money in the coffer
2 : treasury, funds usually used in plural… public coffers running dry in a bleak economy …— Vivienne Walt and Roya Wolversoncorporate coffers
3 : a recessed panel in a vault, ceiling, or soffit ceiling coffers


coffered; coffering; coffers

Definition of coffer (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to store or hoard up in a coffer coffered his military memorabilia
2 : to form (something, such as a ceiling) with recessed panels A ceiling that is coffered will bring an added dimension to a large room.

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Synonyms for coffer

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of coffer in a Sentence

Noun kept the jewels in a locked coffer let me see what's in the household coffers and I'll get back to you about making a donation
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Spending on police claimed about 10% of the general fund coffer during the past few years. Megan Cassidy,, "After years of spending and hiring, SF police face cuts amid reform sparked by George Floyd killing," 13 June 2020 For 2018-2019, the U.S. voluntarily added some $656 million to the WHO’s coffers, nearly twice as much as any other country. Elijah Wolfson, Time, "Trump Said He Would Terminate the U.S. Relationship With the WHO. Here's What That Means," 4 June 2020 Fewer fill-ups means fewer gas tax dollars flowing to state and federal coffers. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "As coronavirus results in less traffic, transportation funding in Texas and beyond takes a hit," 27 May 2020 Fans texting in donations added to the charity coffers. Steve Dimeglio, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson defeat Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in sudden death charity golf match," 17 May 2020 The levy would have continued to bring $10.6 million annually to district coffers without raising taxes., "Ohio primary: Districts ponder what's next as they await official levy results," 30 Apr. 2020 Trial lawyers have long been significant contributors to Democratic Party coffers. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "‘Several cottage industries’: Coronavirus lawsuits a boon to plaintiff lawyers," 24 Apr. 2020 Investors added a net $35 billion in new money to the firm’s coffers, down by about half from the prior-year period. Dawn Lim, WSJ, "BlackRock’s Profit, Assets Under Management Fall," 16 Apr. 2020 Cities depend on the sales tax that comes from these restaurants and small businesses to fuel city coffers. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Relaxed rules, donated banners: Here's how cities are helping small businesses," 1 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Past a grey façade of stucco and concrete, the traditional-style home opens to 4,314 square feet of formal living spaces with dark hardwood floors, coffered ceilings and wainscoting. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Crocs creator Scott Seamans sells in Newport Beach," 8 Oct. 2019 Must-see rooms include the family room, with its coffered ceiling, hardwood floors, and fireplace-- one of five in the house. cleveland, "Pepper Pike home with wow outdoor space asks $1.69M: House of the Week," 3 Apr. 2020 Among the luxury features: golf course lots, coffered ceilings and a waterfall spa. Ebony Day, azcentral, "An Arizona Taco Bell owner is among the sellers of this week’s priciest homes in metro Phoenix," 3 Feb. 2020 The 5,643-square-foot house has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and comes with a front courtyard, coffered ceilings and wide-plank white oak flooring. Ebony Day, azcentral, "Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Addison Reed buys $3.5M Scottsdale home," 20 Jan. 2020 The home has about 6,800 square feet of living space, coffered ceilings, four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Neal J. Leitereg, Los Angeles Times, "Top sales: September sees a slew of off-market deals," 18 Oct. 2019 The ceilings are bolstered by beams of palm and eucalyptus, or geometrically coffered with wood strips in a traditional south Moroccan technique called tataoui or in one room gaily painted in the colorful Berber style. Joshua Levine, WSJ, "A Moroccan Retreat With a French Minimalist Spin," 13 Aug. 2018 Features include Carrara marble floors, a gourmet kitchen, a formal dining room and coffered ceilings. Robyn A. Friedman,, "A $20 million European-style mansion in South Florida fit for Versace | Photos," 24 Oct. 2019 Past a grey façade of stucco and concrete, the traditional-style home opens to 4,314 square feet of formal living spaces with dark hardwood floors, coffered ceilings and wainscoting. Jack Flemming, Daily Pilot, "Crocs creator’s crib in Newport Beach fetches $3.9 million," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coffer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coffer


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coffer


Middle English cofre, coffre, borrowed from Anglo-French, altered (with n to r) from Latin cophinus "large basket, hamper" (sense "chest" attested in early Medieval Latin), borrowed from Greek kóphinos "large basket" — more at coffin entry 1


Middle English cofren, derivative of cofre coffer entry 1

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Time Traveler for coffer

Time Traveler

The first known use of coffer was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Coffer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for coffer


How to pronounce coffer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of coffer

: a box for holding money or other valuable things
: money that is available for spending


cof·​fer | \ ˈkȯ-fər How to pronounce coffer (audio) \

Kids Definition of coffer

: a box used especially for holding money and valuables

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