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

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

Expected to land on the same ballot are two other measures that tap company coffers: a tax on newly public companies to raise money for job equality programs, and a tax on a portion of Uber and Lyft rides to fund the city’s transportation needs. Trisha Thadani,, "Here comes another: Third tax on SF’s business, tech industry headed to November ballot," 13 June 2019 Revenues flowed at record levels into Florida’s non-tribal casinos’ coffers last year with $569 million collected from gamblers, an industry trade group said Tuesday. David Lyons,, "Florida’s non-tribal casinos set revenue record of $569 million in 2018," 11 June 2019 If successful, his unorthodox strategy could reap rewards for both patients—the potential to cure cancer is much greater when it is treated early—and company coffers. ... Denise Roland, WSJ, "Drug Giant Tries New Tactic to Fight Cancer," 27 May 2019 With hundreds of octagonal and square coffers, each one elaborately painted like a miniature oil in shades of coral, blue-gray, and pale green, its intensity can make choosing furnishings difficult. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "A Legendary 1920s Palm Beach House is a Showcase for a Striking Art Collection," 17 Apr. 2019 Selling that shift to corporations and wealthy individuals that are expected to fill the United Way’s coffers has not been easy. Harold Brubaker,, "United Way announces first grants with new focus on fighting intergenerational poverty," 16 May 2018 That period has been marked for the most part by tidy, low-drama governance and an economic boom that has left tax coffers overflowing. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, "Anti-Semitism controversy exposes D.C.’s fault lines — and a leadership vacuum," 6 May 2018 The government’s coffers are reeling from lack of resources, and the U.N. estimates that eight out 10 people live below poverty line. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 Government coffers swelled by a record $314 billion via individual tax payments in April. Saleha Mohsin,, "U.S. Posts Record Monthly Budget Surplus of $214 Billion," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Modern chandeliers and coffered ceilings make a case for looking upward. Jack Flemming,, "‘Ridiculousness’ host Steelo Brim goes wild for newly built Cape Cod," 15 June 2018 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

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

16 Jun 2019

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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
: 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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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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