Definition of firkin in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfəːkɪn/


1A small cask formerly used for liquids, butter, or fish.
Example sentences
  • If that wasn't enough he has provided T-shirts for the gang to wear on the ride (no yellow jerseys required) and thrown in five firkins of beer.
  • Her own father was a cooper in Kilaville and made the firkins there.
  • But Craig, a former club footballer and referee, is confident the team has a good chance of winning and has donated a firkin to the players for after the game.
1.1A unit of liquid volume equal to half a kilderkin (usually 9 imperial gallons or about 41 litres).
Example sentences
  • If you take a barrel to be two kilderkins and a kilderkin to be two firkins (which are themselves, of course, nine gallons), then the saving works out at about 14p per pint.
  • Other sizes were the firkin, kilderkin and hogshead.
  • Five firkins - that's about 360 pints or 41 litres - of Black Satin, his latest brew, were snapped up from his brewery.


Middle English ferdekyn, probably from the Middle Dutch diminutive of vierde 'fourth' (a firkin originally contained a quarter of a barrel).

Words that rhyme with firkin

gherkin, jerkin, merkin, Perkin

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fir¦kin

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.