1 of 2


cof·​fer ˈkȯ-fər How to pronounce coffer (audio)
: chest
Among the items at the auction was an 18th-century oak coffer.
especially : strongbox
put the money in the coffer
: treasury, funds
usually used in plural
… public coffers running dry in a bleak economy …Vivienne Walt and Roya Wolversoncorporate coffers
: a recessed panel in a vault, ceiling, or soffit
ceiling coffers


2 of 2


coffered; coffering; coffers

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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
Moore, who had $1.3 million in his coffer in late August and has been consistently raising money the last two months, has spent $104,000 on ad buys in the past 30 days, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm. Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2022 There was no coffer inside it, and no treasure either. Okwiri Oduor, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 That means the community as a whole doesn't see the money flow into the tax coffer until after the debt is retired. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Apr. 2022 Unlike Disney or WarnerMedia, which have decades’ worth of material, or Netflix—which has been aggressive in its production of original content, to say the least—Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have a massive coffer of exclusives. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 18 Mar. 2022 Ainge was a master at keeping the Celtics’ coffer of draft picks jam-packed., 7 June 2021 An anonymous donor kicked in another $50,000, and a growing group of Orange County businesspeople — including Bill Skeffington of Watson’s Soda Fountain and Cafe in Orange — have added to the coffer. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 Spending on police claimed about 10% of the general fund coffer during the past few years. Megan Cassidy,, 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, 4 June 2020
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, 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, 3 Apr. 2020 Among the luxury features: golf course lots, coffered ceilings and a waterfall spa. Ebony Day, azcentral, 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, 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, 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, 13 Aug. 2018 Features include Carrara marble floors, a gourmet kitchen, a formal dining room and coffered ceilings. Robyn A. Friedman,, 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, 11 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near coffer

Cite this Entry

“Coffer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a box used especially to store money and valuables
: treasury sense 1, funds
usually used in plural

More from Merriam-Webster on coffer

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words

  • high school student holding a pencil leaning over a sat test
  • Despite the cacophony, the student tried to study.
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?