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coffin definition


This page has 8 definitions of coffin in English and Middle English. Coffin is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use coffin in a sentence are shown. Also define these 12 related words and terms: rectangular, body, dead, burial, casket, cartomancy, Lenormand, coffin bone, storage, container, nuclear waste, and coffyn.

See also: Coffin

English coffin definition

Alternative forms


From Middle English coffyn, from Old Northern French cofin (sarcophagus", earlier "basket, coffer), from Latin cophinus (basket), a loanword from Ancient Greek κόφινος (kóphinos, a basket). Doublet of coffer.



coffin (plural coffins)

  1. A rectangular closed box in which the body of a dead person is placed for burial.
    Synonym: (US) casket
  2. (cartomancy) The eighth Lenormand card.
  3. (archaic) A casing or crust, or a mold, of pastry, as for a pie.
    • c. 1588–1593, William Shakespeare, “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene ii]:
      Of the paste a coffin I will rear.
    • 1596, The Good Huswife's Jewell
      Take your mallard and put him into the iuyce of the sayde Onyons, and season him with pepper, and salte, cloues and mace, then put your Mallard into the coffin with the saide iuyce of the onyons.
  4. (obsolete) A conical paper bag, used by grocers.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Nares to this entry?)
  5. The hollow crust or hoof of a horse's foot, below the coronet, in which is the coffin bone.
  6. A storage container for nuclear waste.

Usage notes

  • The type of coffin with upholstery and a half-open lid (mostly in the United States) is called a casket.

Derived terms



coffin (third-person singular simple present coffins, present participle coffining, simple past and past participle coffined)

  1. (transitive) To place in a coffin.
    • 1941, Emily Carr, chapter 19, in Klee Wyck[1]:
      Indians do not hinder the progress of their dead by embalming or tight coffining.
    • 2007, Barbara Everett, "Making and Breaking in Shakespeare's Romances," London Review of Books, 29:6, page 21:
      The chest in which she is coffined washes ashore and is brought to the Lord Cerimon.



Further reading

Middle English coffin definition


coffin (plural)

  1. Alternative form of coffyn
    • Coffyn definition
      Obsolete form of coffin.