Definition of coffin in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkôfən/
Pronunciation: /ˈkäfən/


1A long, narrow box, typically of wood, in which a corpse is buried or cremated.
Example sentences
  • Dead persons are buried in coffins on the grounds of a church or are cremated and have their ashes buried in the graveyard.
  • You may still find dead people being buried without coffins, simply because relatives cannot afford to buy one.
  • Sofia took the bodies of her daughters, placed them in a coffin and buried them outside of town.
informal box
humorous wooden overcoat
1.1 informal An old and unsafe aircraft or vessel.
Example sentences
  • This has been custom for as long as anyone who has ever lived upon this coffin of a ship can remember.
  • The increased use of aeroplanes in warfare led to such terms as Beauey, biscuit bomber, and flying coffin.
  • Protestors call the country's airplanes flying coffins.

verb (coffins, coffining, coffined)

[with object]
Put (a dead body) in a coffin.
Example sentences
  • While the embalmed heart was returned to the chest of the deceased, the other organs were separately packaged, coffined, and stored.


Middle English (in the general sense 'box, chest, casket'): from Old French cofin 'little basket or case', from Latin cophinus (see coffer).

  • Coffin comes from the Old French word cofin meaning ‘a little basket’, and in medieval English could refer to a chest, casket, or even a pie. The sense ‘a box in which a dead body is buried or cremated’ dates from the early 16th century. A closely related word is coffer (Middle English)—both words share the same source, Greek kophinos ‘a basket’.

Words that rhyme with coffin


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cof·fin

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