Definition of coffle
: a train of slaves or animals fastened together
coffle was our Word of the Day on 09/25/2013. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Coffle comes from the Arabic qāfila, which means "caravan" or "travelling company," though in English it has been used more specifically to refer to a group of slaves or animals chained or strung together. One of the earliest known uses of "coffle" in English is found in the explorer Mungo Park's 1799 Travels in the Interior of Africa. This was not the first time, however, that English had borrowed "qāfila." About two hundred years earlier "cafila" started appearing in print as an Anglicization of the Arabic qāfila to indicate a caravan or company of travelers in the Middle East and India.
Origin and Etymology of coffle
Arabic qāfila caravan
First Known Use: 1799
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