Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A strongbox.
  • noun Financial resources; funds.
  • noun A treasury.
  • noun Architecture A decorative sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, soffit, or vault.
  • noun The chamber formed by a canal lock.
  • noun A cofferdam.
  • noun A floating dock.
  • transitive verb To put in a coffer.
  • transitive verb Architecture To supply (a ceiling, for example) with decorative sunken panels.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To deposit or lay up in a coffer: usually with up.
  • To furnish or ornament with coffers, as a ceiling.
  • noun A box, casket, or chest (as now understood, a large chest), especially one used for keeping valuables, as money; an ark; hence, figuratively, a treasury; in the plural, the wealth or pecuniary resources of a person, corporation, nation, etc.
  • noun In architecture, a sunk panel or compartment in a ceiling or soffit, of an ornamental character, usually enriched with moldings and having a rose, pomegranate, star, or other ornament in the center; a caisson.
  • noun In fortification, a hollow lodgment across a dry moat, from 6 to 7 feet deep and from 16 to 18 feet broad.
  • noun A trough in which tin ore is broken to pieces.
  • noun A kind of caisson or floating dock.
  • noun A canal-lock chamber.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To put into a coffer.
  • transitive verb (Mining.) To secure from leaking, as a shaft, by ramming clay behind the masonry or timbering.
  • transitive verb To form with or in a coffer or coffers; to furnish with a coffer or coffers.
  • noun A casket, chest, or trunk; especially, one used for keeping money or other valuables.
  • noun Fig.: Treasure or funds; -- usually in the plural.
  • noun (Arch.) A panel deeply recessed in the ceiling of a vault, dome, or portico; a caisson.
  • noun (Fort.) A trench dug in the bottom of a dry moat, and extending across it, to enable the besieged to defend it by a raking fire.
  • noun The chamber of a canal lock; also, a caisson or a cofferdam.
  • noun (Engin.) See Cofferdam, in the Vocabulary.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Cowfish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A strongbox: a strong chest or box used for keeping money or valuables safe.
  • noun architecture An ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome.
  • noun A cofferdam.
  • noun A supply or store of money, often belonging to an organization.
  • verb transitive To put money or valuables in a coffer
  • verb transitive To decorate something, especially a ceiling, with coffers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a chest especially for storing valuables
  • noun an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling or dome

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English cofre, from Old French, alteration of *cofne, from Latin cophinus, basket; see coffin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French cofre, coffre, from Latin cophinus ("basket"), from Ancient Greek κόφινος (kophinos, "basket").

Examples

  • It's no secret the lion's share of the money in King's campaign coffer comes from the electric industry.

    Easter Lemming Liberal News

  • Because most of the sea wall is submerged, engineers had to build what is called a coffer dam -- essentially a steel bathtub inside the Tidal Basin.

    Workers try to repair the sinking sea wall at the Jefferson Memorial

  • Because most of the sea wall is submerged, engineers had to build what is called a coffer dam -- essentially a steel bathtub inside the Tidal Basin.

    Workers try to repair sinking sea wall at Jefferson Memorial

  • They constructed what is called a coffer dam dike that with the velocity that comes through the river, it undermined that, coming in through the lower levels and so forth.

    CNN Transcript Mar 29, 2009

  • Mariamne might want her to become a nun, but the find in the coffer was a portent and had fixed Annais's decision on the matter.

    The Falcons of Montabard

  • It seems "that on the other side of the ocean stands an oak, and on the oak a coffer, and in the coffer a hare, and in the hare a duck, and in the duck an egg, and in the egg the love of the Queen-Maiden."

    Russian Fairy Tales A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore

  • In such a case as this they make what is called a coffer dam, which is a sort of dam, or dike, made by driving piles close together into the ground, in two rows, at a little distance apart, and then filling up the space between them with earth and gravel.

    Rollo in London

  • The first of three dome-like structures, known as coffer dams, has been completed and is now on its way to the site of the Gulf oil spill, BP said Wednesday.

    New Orleans Saints Central

  • The 100-ton concrete and metal construction, called a coffer dam, has been shipped from Louisiana to the waters above the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.

    WN.com - Photown News

  • The 100-ton concrete and metal construction, called a coffer dam, has been shipped from Louisiana to the waters above the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.

    WN.com - Photown News

Comments

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  • "Then she thought to keep the branch as long as she might. And for she had no coffer to keep it in, she put it in the earth."

    - Thomas Malory, 'The Holy Grail'.

    September 13, 2009

  • The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions. - Websters Dictionary pg.15

    September 24, 2010