Definition of coif in English:


Line breaks: coif
Pronunciation: /kɔɪf


  • 1A woman’s close-fitting cap, now only worn under a veil by nuns: her black habit and white starched coif
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    • By 1066 it also had a hood or coif of the same material, attached directly or separate and worn over the tunic with a short cape covering the shoulders.
    • Upon her head was placed a coif to protect the holy oil from running down - the coif, we know from the accounts, was of cambric lace; there were gloves of white linen and fine cotton wool to dry up the oil after the anointing.
  • 1.1 historical A metal skullcap worn under armour.
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    • As an additional head protection, but occasionally worn alone beneath the mail coif, a metal skullcap called a basinet was developed.
    • Half a dozen soldiers in leather and chain mail hauberks and coifs formed a semicircle around them, hands on the swords sheathed at their hips.
    • By the eleventh century the coif was often integrated with the hauberk becoming a hood.
  • 2 /also kwɑːf/ • informal , chiefly North American short for coiffure.
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    • Where else can you see such megastars as Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and Christian Slater sporting bouffant coifs, shaggy sideburns and sequined jackets?
    • The ambassador's wife was draped, to her toes, in shimmering purple; and the other ladies, scattered like rare peacocks around the salon, their hair upswept in shiny coifs, glittered in gilt and sequins.
    • The woman was about the same age as the richly-dressed man, her brown hair swept up in an intricate coif and decorated with glittering hairpins.


Pronunciation: /kwɑːf
, kwɒf/
(coifs, coiffing, coiffed; US also coifs, coifing, coifed) [with object] Back to top  
  • Style or arrange (someone’s hair): Gloria’s hair was coiffed in its usual way (as adjective coiffed) her coiffed blonde hair
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    • Her hair was coiffed in a blonde chignon, her makeup flawless, and her crème suit showed off the alabaster quality of her skin.
    • The women of St Margaret's are neither tough nor butch - they range from a 50-year-old mother of three with perfectly coiffed blonde hair and a pink polo shirt to a landscape gardener with a concave stomach and myriad tattoos.
    • Robert confided that there are so many fabulous options for coiffing hair to perfection regardless of the challenge or current hair situation.


Middle English: from Old French coife 'headdress', from late Latin cofia 'helmet'.

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