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

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Synonyms for coffin

Synonyms: Noun

bier, box, casket, pall, sarcophagus

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Examples of coffin in a Sentence


coffins are said to be the preferred sleeping places of vampires

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The family of Guzman-Feliz sat just feet away from his coffin draped in white. CBS News, "Slaying of Bronx teen highlights NYPD efforts to curb gang violence," 28 June 2018 The opportunity lies in your willingness to unseal your emotional coffin and come alive again to possibility. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Weekly Horoscopes June 25-July 1," 23 June 2018 When 14-year-old Emmett Till’s dismembered body was shown to the world during his open-coffin funeral, the trajectory of American history and the civil rights movement were forever altered. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "The Emmett Till Case Is Being Reopened by the Department of Justice," 12 July 2018 Just plain wood coffins or maybe a cotton death shroud, and fairly soon the body in the grave would be recycled back into nature. Gregory B. Hladky,, "No Expensive Caskets. No Toxic Chemicals. 'Green Burials' Growing In Popularity In Connecticut," 6 July 2018 Government workers get better coffins; children are buried in white ones. The Economist, "Cuba’s funerals: cheap and especially uncheerful," 28 June 2018 During a renovation, Mary's coffin was removed to an unmarked grave in a remote corner of the cemetery. Edward Mcclelland, Chicago Reader, "Meet Resurrection Mary, the ghost of Archer Avenue," 26 June 2018 The percussionist Fiona Digney, pummelling a conspicuously coffin-like apparatus, made a sound to wake the dead. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 2018 The Chapel Royal is also where the coffin of Princess Diana was laid before her funeral in 1997. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Louis's Christening Details: The Date, Venue, and What We Know About His Godparents," 20 June 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.

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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

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Phrases Related to coffin

a nail in the/someone's coffin

Statistics for coffin

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for coffin

The first known use of coffin was in 1525

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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

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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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