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 As Tehran’s coffers swelled with oil revenues in the 1970s, Chase formed a joint venture with an Iranian state bank and earned big fees advising the national oil company. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "How Chase Bank Chairman Helped the Deposed Shah of Iran Enter the U.S.," 29 Dec. 2019 Not the end, of course - there’s much more money for Disney to make, plus Scrooge McDuck’s coffers go to infinity and beyond. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "After 'The Rise of Skywalker,' it's time for 'Star Wars' to go away (at least for a while)," 24 Dec. 2019 Investigations by lawmakers and the nation’s anti-graft ombudsman suggest that the upheaval was an orchestrated attempt by Zuma’s allies to raid Eskom’s coffers with his tacit consent. Mike Cohen And Paul Burkhardt | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why Eskom’s Power Crisis Is South Africa’s Top Risk," 11 Dec. 2019 And as a further inducement to lend, the ECB charges a negative interest rate on deposits that commercial banks stash in the central bank’s coffers., "Subzero Interest Rates Are Luring Insurers to Risk - The Boston Globe," 14 Nov. 2019 Eight nonprofits will share Trump’s $2 million in restitution and the $1.78 million remaining in the Trump Foundation’s coffers. Philip Hackney, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Trump’s charity woes are uncommon, if not unprecedented, and could get more costly," 11 Nov. 2019 Buttigieg, who had socked away more than $23 million socked-away at the end of September to buttress future ad buys, can’t compete with Bloomberg’s coffers. Philip Elliott, Time, "How Michael Bloomberg's Potential White House Run Shakes Up The Field," 9 Nov. 2019 Its general fund balance — essentially what’s left in the state’s coffers after accounting for all spending — stood at $1.1 billion as of June 30. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's financial reserves grow to highest level in decades, but there's a caveat," 25 Oct. 2019 His re-election campaign shelled out $670,000 to the Trump Organization in his first year in office alone, essentially transferring donors’ money directly into his family’s coffers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Latest Get-Rich-Quick Scheme," 26 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 This room also has cast stone fireplace, scalloped detailed coffered ceiling, and French door access to a private courtyard. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: A masterfully crafted Mediterranean-style estate in Monte Sereno," 24 July 2019 Everyone appreciates the two-story lobby's solid marble front desk, mahogany detailing, intricate black-and-white mosaic tile floor and colorful, coffered stained glass ceiling, all of which are original. Dina Mishev, Dallas News, "In Cheyenne, the Wild West hasn't been totally tamed," 16 July 2019 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 2019 unveiled," 7 June 2019 Everyone appreciates the two-story lobby’s solid marble front desk, mahogany detailing, intricate black-and-white mosaic tile floor and colorful, coffered stained glass ceiling, all of which are original. Dina Mishev, Washington Post, "Cheyenne," 10 July 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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Statistics for coffer

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coffer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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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Comments on coffer

What made you want to look up coffer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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