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 Flattening the curve put the nail in the coffin of in-person retail, which had already endured record closures in 2019. Sarah Leonard, The New Republic, "How Amazon Exploited a Weakened America," 2 Apr. 2021 As relatives lined up to carry the long line of coffins into Kojo, Ms. Murad took her place on the muddy road next to the coffin of one of her brothers. New York Times, "Years After a Massacre, Yazidis Finally Bury Their Loved Ones," 7 Feb. 2021 Demolitions of Palestinian homes, new settlement construction and settler land-grabs continue unabated, putting the last nails in the coffin. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: COVID vaccines, Israel policy, postcards," 30 Mar. 2021 The funeral home sent him five photos of a rabbi praying over his wife’s coffin. New York Times, "How 535,000 Covid Deaths Spurred Political Awakenings Across America," 17 Mar. 2021 According to Minneapolis’ local ABC affiliate station KSTP, protesters carried a coffin through downtown Minneapolis that was later placed in the Hennepin County Government Center plaza along with pictures of Floyd and flowers to remember his life. Ashlee Banks, Essence, "George Floyd's Murder Trial Begins Jury Selection," 8 Mar. 2021 Belgreen put the final nail in the coffin to open the second half, opening on a 10-2 run before closing on a 10-2 run for a 57-28 lead, and held the Blue Devils without consecutive buckets for the second straight period. Evan Dudley, al, "Class 1A Boys: Belgreen advances to title game with 66-44 win over Notasulga," 2 Mar. 2021 Beijing hammered a few more nails in the coffin of Hong Kong’s limited democracy this week. Washington Post, "The Biden administration’s first showdown with China," 12 Mar. 2021 At the same time, though, a switch to digital-only receipts probably would be another nail in the coffin of your privacy. David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Privacy or planet — the tough choice of doing away with paper receipts," 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The intimate private funeral was dwarfed in scale by the 200,000 citizen mourners who would file past her mother’s coffin a few weeks later. Washington Post, "Before Harry and Meghan, the Windsor sisters stirred the pot. A new book delves into their story.," 12 Mar. 2021 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coffin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 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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Comments on coffin

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