cof·​fer | \ˈkȯ-fər, 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

safe, safe-deposit box, strongbox

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Examples of coffer in a Sentence


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

The program’s centerpiece had been a listing of Aramco, known officially as Saudi Arabian Oil Co., which was expected to inject as much as $100 billion into PIF’s coffers. Rory Jones, WSJ, "In Rare Step, Saudi’s Sovereign-Wealth Fund Raises $11 Billion Loan," 17 Sep. 2018 Brown’s office told the Washington Post that government scientists and staff will work on the project, but no money from the state’s coffers will be spent toward the development of the satellite. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "California will launch 'its own damn satellite' as a swipe at Trump, 'Governor Moonbeam' says," 15 Sep. 2018 The Summer Skirmish series doled out $8 million in prize money these past eight weeks, but there’s still $92 million more from Epic’s coffers waiting to be claimed and a Fortnite World Cup event scheduled for 2019. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Epic’s Summer Skirmish series was a beta for the future of competitive Fortnite," 6 Sep. 2018 The other was what likely proved decisive: a promise of $11 billion in profit to FIFA’s coffers. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "2026 World Cup: United States, Mexico, Canada win bid to host," 13 June 2018 Iraq’s coffers have been drained by a combination of wartime spending and oil-prices that fell dramatically over the past three years. Washington Post,, "Iraqis vote in first national election after toppling of Islamic State," 12 May 2018 Notably, the money does not need to come from a campaign’s coffers. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "Rudy Giuliani May Have Just Implicated Trump in Two Federal Crimes," 3 May 2018 Hankerson has become the focal point of social media scorn surrounding Howard’s admission that nearly a million dollars have disappeared from the school’s coffers. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Student at Center of Howard University Financial Scandal Speaks Out Amid Campus Protests," 30 Mar. 2018 While Monaco sold key players to England’s cash-rich Premier League, PSG bought Neymar for 222 million euros from Barcelona and ensured Monaco’s coffers remained full with the acquisition of Kylian Mbappe for 180 million. Jerome Pugmire,, "PSG vs. Monaco, a League Cup final clash of buyers and sellers," 29 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As a bonus, the clubhouse — with its French doors, white coffered ceiling and charming veranda — might be the finest of any public course in the country. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Top 10 metro Detroit public golf courses for 2018," 6 July 2018 The red oak flooring found throughout the main level complements the wood paneling that is used on the walls and coffered ceiling. James Alexander,, "Property of the Week: 20 Barnes Hill Road, Burlington," 11 Jan. 2018 The office’s coffered ceiling and wainscoting are made of cherry, a warm complement to the hardwood floor. Joan Walden,, "Property of the Week: 3 Erica Lane, West Simsbury," 20 July 2017 Don’t miss the Q restaurant and bar, with its coffered ceiling, gold and purple accents and portraits of Queen Victoria. New York Times, "36 Hours in Victoria, British Columbia," 12 Apr. 2018 Nef’s birthday look glimmered similarly–a stunning floor-length gold Gucci gown (with a matching tiara, of course) looked right at home underneath the Campbell’s ornate Florentine coffered ceiling. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Uptown Glamour Meets Downtown Cool at Hari Nef’s Opulent Grand Central 25th Birthday Bash," 24 Oct. 2017 The chandelier still hangs in the center of the auditorium's coffered ceiling. Carol Motsinger,, "These 7,000 crystals sparkle in a new way above a renovated Music Hall," 29 Sep. 2017 Sold by its heirs in the early 1980s, Adare Manor reopened in 1988 as a country house hotel with the kind of architectural frippery in sculptural embellishments and coffered ceilings that make an audience of guests. Elaine Glusac, New York Times, "In Europe and Canada, New Looks for Classic Hotels," 13 Sep. 2017 The biggest thing on her mind was the extra $200 million that was expected to pour into the county coffers a year from junkies like me. Dahleen Glanton,, "Soda tax halt in Cook County is halting habit changes," 10 July 2017

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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Statistics for coffer

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coffer

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

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More Definitions for coffer



English Language Learners Definition of coffer

: a box for holding money or other valuable things

coffers : money that is available for spending


cof·​fer | \ˈkȯ-fər \

Kids Definition of coffer

: a box used especially for holding money and valuables

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More from Merriam-Webster on coffer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coffer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coffer

Spanish Central: Translation of coffer

Nglish: Translation of coffer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coffer for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about coffer

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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