cof·​fer·​dam ˈkȯ-fər-ˌdam How to pronounce cofferdam (audio)
: a watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the bottom of a body of water and permit construction (as of a pier)
: a watertight structure for making repairs below the waterline of a ship

Examples of cofferdam in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chuck Lee, a supervisor in the dam safety unit, said the agency was issuing an emergency contract for the construction of a cofferdam — essentially a dam in front of the dam. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 11 Jan. 2024 With a cofferdam in place, the area in front of the dam can be drained and engineers can make a more detailed assessment of the damage and threat. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 11 Jan. 2024 That included the construction of a huge temporary cofferdam to divert the thundering water from the building site. Laura Randall, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2022 The $11 million project began in August 2016 with the construction of a cofferdam to surround the battleship which allowed crews to drain the river water and have access to the ship’s brittle hull. From Usa Today Network and Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 21 July 2021 If the plan goes through, all the water from the American side of the falls will temporarily be diverted to Horseshoe Falls in Canada using a cofferdam. Popular Mechanics, 25 Jan. 2016 Activities for all ages range from hands-on exploration of concepts to in-depth mini-classes about building cofferdams, measuring salinity and shipbuilding. Houston Chronicle, 11 Mar. 2018 Mr. Altschuler said a flotation could be built around the vessel and it could be extricated from the mud with a method known as a cofferdam and restored at the site. Corey Kilgannon, New York Times, 12 June 2017 This one took place on Feb. 18, 1986, when the cofferdam built in preparation for the construction of Auburn Dam collapsed above Folsom Lake. David Caraccio,, 27 Apr. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cofferdam.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1736, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cofferdam was in 1736

Dictionary Entries Near cofferdam

Cite this Entry

“Cofferdam.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

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