cof·​fin | \ ˈkȯ-fən How to pronounce coffin (audio) \

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

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Examples of coffin in a Sentence

Noun coffins are said to be the preferred sleeping places of vampires
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The neighbors were so afraid of getting polio that Ms. Norville’s family held Tommy’s funeral with an empty coffin. New York Times, "Vaccine Memories of Another Time and Place," 25 Dec. 2020 Four plays later, the Bucs went up by 10, with Brady scoring on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to effectively put the nail in the coffin. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "Saints eliminated by Bucs in divisional round heartbreaker; here's how it happened," 17 Jan. 2021 Beside Hank’s coffin were two large wreaths shaped like guitars, another set of flowers was shaped like a Bible, two lamps were shining purple lights, and in his hands there was a small Bible. al, "Hank Williams died on New Year’s Day 1953, Montgomery funeral drew 20,000 mourners," 31 Dec. 2020 If that was the case, Hebron’s loss to Plano on Nov. 6 would be the nail in the coffin because Coppell won its matchup against Plano. Dallas News, "Week 11 Texas high school football playoff scenarios for Dallas-area teams," 1 Dec. 2020 The funeral director led me into the empty chapel: the coffin was on a bier near a door, where, on the other side, the hearse was parked and waiting. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Preparing to Spin the Wheel of Fortune," 23 Nov. 2020 The court's decision was widely seen as the final nail in the coffin for the Republican efforts to overturn the election results. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander says Trump must 'put country first' and concede to Biden," 14 Dec. 2020 The sudden absence of coverage appears to be the final nail in the coffin for an October surprise that had President Trump and his allies arguing the Democratic candidate faced troubling corruption and national security issues. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Tucker Carlson abandons Hunter Biden story in final stretch before Election Day," 2 Nov. 2020 The audience watches as a young man with worldly dreams encounters setback after setback, each one like a nail in his own coffin. Rachael Scott, CNN, "How World War II shaped 'It's a Wonderful Life'," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Returning to Edinburgh, the 19-year-old Connery began working a variety of jobs, including delivering coal and working in a steel strip mill — as well as working as a furniture and coffin polisher, cement mixer, ditch digger and lifeguard. Dennis Mclellan, Los Angeles Times, "Sean Connery dies at 90, Scottish actor played the original James Bond," 31 Oct. 2020 Connery left school at 14 and began working a range of jobs including bricklayer, lifeguard and coffin polisher. Rodney Jefferson,, "Sean Connery, Who Introduced World to James Bond, Dies at 90," 31 Oct. 2020 The idea of decomposition makes many people uneasy, and coffin design has reflected that for a long time. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "This 'Living' Mushroom Coffin Will Help Your Body Decompose Faster," 21 Sep. 2020 Though the site was well maintained, the graves lacked commonly found burial artifacts like buttons, nails and coffin handles. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Archaeologists Unearth 16th-Century Children’s Cemetery in Poland," 1 July 2020

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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Statistics for coffin

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coffin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 How to pronounce coffin (audio) \

Kids Definition of coffin

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

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