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coo·​per ˈkü-pər How to pronounce cooper (audio) ˈku̇- How to pronounce cooper (audio)
: one that makes or repairs wooden casks or tubs


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coopered; coopering ˈkü-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce cooper (audio)

transitive verb

: to work as a cooper on

intransitive verb

: to work at or do coopering

Examples of cooper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
His father, George, owned 25,000 acres of land and operated large plantations in Virginia, relying on enslaved people to work as carpenters, coopers, sawyers, blacksmiths, tanners, shoemakers, spinners, weavers, knitters, distillers, cooks, laundry maids and field laborers. Sue Eisenfeld, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Feb. 2024 Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm, OBE, began his career in whisky making working as a cooper at The Glen Grant distillery in 1961, and was actually born on the distillery grounds in 1946. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 12 Sep. 2023 Whiskey is next with barrels from a local cooper. Marc Bona, cleveland, 7 Mar. 2022 In 2016, Julien asked the local cooper, Tonnellerie Artisanale de Champagne, to make some oak barrels from staves that had been left to dry for four years, which is a year longer than for typical high-quality oak barrels (the longer the better some think). Per and Britt Karlsson, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 Blacksmith, bakery, cooper, print and other shops will add to the project’s colonial ambiance. Mark Eddington, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 July 2022 But this humble shop functions as a small cooperage, the place where master cooper Ramiro Herrera painstakingly builds, toasts and repairs fine oak wine barrels. Jess Lander, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 June 2022 Pinkerton, who’d immigrated to America from Scotland in 1842, was a cooper (maker of wooden casks and barrels) and abolitionist known for his populist views. Kellie B. Gormly, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cooper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English couper, cowper, from Middle Dutch cūper (from cūpe cask) or Middle Low German kūper, from kūpe cask; Middle Dutch cūpe & Middle Low German kūpe, from Latin cupa; akin to Greek kypellon cup — more at hive

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1720, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of cooper was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cooper

Cite this Entry

“Cooper.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a worker who makes or repairs wooden casks, tubs, or barrels

Biographical Definition

Cooper 1 of 4

biographical name (1)

Anthony Ashley see shaftesbury


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biographical name (2)

Coo·​per ˈkü-pər How to pronounce Cooper (audio)
James Fen*i*more ˈfen-ə-ˌmȯr How to pronounce Cooper (audio) 1789–1851 American novelist


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biographical name (3)

Leon Neil 1930–     American physicist


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biographical name (4)

Peter 1791–1883 American manufacturer and philanthropist
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