coif·​fure | \ kwä-ˈfyu̇r How to pronounce coiffure (audio) \

Definition of coiffure

: a style or manner of arranging the hair I love his eerily perfect coiffure and his … impish smile …— Scott Raab

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Synonyms for coiffure


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First appearing in English in the 1630s, coiffure derives from the French verb coiffer, which can mean "to arrange (hair)" or "to cover with a coif (any of various close-fitting caps, such as that worn under a veil by a nun)." The word is now used as a somewhat fancy way of saying "hairdo." Be careful not to confuse it with "coiffeur," which refers to a man who works as a hairdresser (and of which "coiffeuse" is the female equivalent). You may also encounter "coif" used to mean "hairstyle" - in such cases, "coif" is operating as a shortened form of "coiffure."

Examples of coiffure in a Sentence

with his flashy suit and carefully sculpted coiffure, he looks like a slick car dealer
Recent Examples on the Web The Fly rested in Pence’s arctic coiffure for approximately two minutes, respecting moderator Susan Page’s time limit. Washington Post, "Life imitates art, and so a fly landed on Mike Pence’s head," 8 Oct. 2020 The super stepped out on the pink carpet with her usual shoulder-skimming style switched for a shellacked coiffure, chic enough to seamlessly subvert all the extra above-neck moments. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Bella Hadid Reveals a Radical New Pixie Cut at the Met Gala," 7 May 2019 Sanchez appears quite intrigued with Soto’s coiffure, Soto with the shirtless Sanchez’s svelte midsection. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "The champs and the chastened: Nationals, Astros enjoy far different first days of work," 17 Feb. 2020 But bear in mind, too, the poem’s other point: A louse may be burrowing in anyone’s coiffure, even our own. New York Times, "Should I Tell My Aunt That Her Costume Is Racist?," 21 Jan. 2020 In a photo released on Monday by Netflix, the esteemed English actress is seen for the first time transformed into QE2, with her stiff signature coiffure and her go-to tea and marmalade (as one does). Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "All Hail the First Look at Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown," 16 July 2018 Adele Scalia, who grew up in the tropics, said good hair days for her curly coiffure help make a normal Washington winter tolerable. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "It was warm, it was wet, and many of us saw rainbows," 31 Dec. 2019 Each is a text about image and career and coiffure. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "How beabadoobee’s “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” Reckons with a Rock Idol," 27 Sep. 2019 Like a wry little echo chamber, the curls of paper showcase curls of hair in the same spectrum of tones common to both coiffures and photographic prints. Leah Ollman,, "How one artist turns old snapshots into poetic ‘Untold Stories’," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coiffure.' 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 coiffure

circa 1631, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coiffure

borrowed from French, going back to Middle French, "head covering, adornment of the hair," from coiffer "to cover with a coif, arrange (hair)" (going back to Old French coiffer, coifer, derivative of coife coif entry 1) + -ure -ure

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Time Traveler for coiffure

Time Traveler

The first known use of coiffure was circa 1631

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Coiffure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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How to pronounce coiffure (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of coiffure

formal : a way of cutting and arranging someone's hair

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