cof·​fin | \ ˈkȯ-fən \

Definition of coffin 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a box or chest for burying a corpse — compare casket


coffined; coffining; coffins

Definition of coffin (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to enclose in or as if in a coffin

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for coffin

Synonyms: Noun

bier, box, casket, pall, sarcophagus

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of coffin in a Sentence


coffins are said to be the preferred sleeping places of vampires

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Plain light wooden coffin in a crematorium Photo: iStock/Getty Images Flash forward 33 years. Gayle Somers, WSJ, "Life Is Worth Living, Even if It Is Painful and Short," 21 Dec. 2018 Sophomore Luke Fuller added three of his own, but Devolve put the final nail in the coffin, hammering home a kill set up perfectly by a heavy Darby return that commenced the celebration. Shelby Dermer,, "Moeller beats Hilliard Darby for 8th state volleyball title in school history," 3 June 2018 Putting on the infant oxygen mask and placing the child in a soundproof coffin (something from Dystopic Parenting magazine?) will buy a couple days, max. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'A Quiet Place': Our 5 screaming questions after seeing the silent thriller (spoilers!)," 8 Apr. 2018 According to The New York Times, following the funeral, Bush’s coffin will travel by train from the Houston area to College Station, Texas. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Reba McEntire Gives Moving Performance of 'The Lord's Prayer' at George H.W. Bush's Funeral," 6 Dec. 2018 Getty Images This weekend, true love's coffin got another nail when news broke that Jenna Dewan had officially filed for divorce from Channing Tatum. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Jenna Dewan Was Spotted Engaging in PDA with a New Guy This Weekend," 28 Oct. 2018 This 12-pan Beetlejuice-themed eye shadow palette comes with enough colors for three to four looks, and all of the shadows are shaped like teeny little coffins. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "11 Halloween Beauty Launches for Spooky Makeup and Skin-Care Products," 9 Oct. 2018 The standing stress position was also employed when agents stored petitioner for days in a coffin in between interrogations. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Isn’t Merely Tolerating Torture — He’s Celebrating It," 6 Apr. 2018 In Istanbul, friends of the dissident journalist held a funeral ceremony outside the Fatih mosque Friday, symbolically gathering around an empty marble coffin stone to highlight the absence of Mr. Khashoggi’s body. Margherita Stancati, WSJ, "Turkey Claims More Audio Evidence Contradicts Saudis on Khashoggi Death," 16 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coffin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of coffin


1525, in the meaning defined above


1564, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coffin


Middle English cofyn, coffyn "basket, hamper" (in translations from Latin), "chest, box," borrowed from Anglo-French cofin, coffin "basket, chest, container," borrowed from Latin cophinus "large basket, hamper," borrowed from Greek kóphinos "large basket," of pre-Greek substratal origin


derivative of coffin entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about coffin

Statistics for coffin

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for coffin

The first known use of coffin was in 1525

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coffin



English Language Learners Definition of coffin

: a box in which a dead person is buried


cof·​fin | \ ˈkȯ-fən \

Kids Definition of coffin

: a box or case to hold a dead body for burial

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on coffin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coffin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coffin

Spanish Central: Translation of coffin

Nglish: Translation of coffin for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on coffin

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


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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