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[kaw-fer, kof-er] /ˈkɔ fər, ˈkɒf ər/
a box or chest, especially one for valuables.
coffers, a treasury; funds:
The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.
any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.
Also called caisson, lacunar. Architecture. one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit.
verb (used with object)
to deposit or lay up in or as in a coffer or chest.
to ornament with coffers or sunken panels.
Origin of coffer
1250-1300; Middle English cofre < Old FrenchLatin cophinus basket; see coffin
Related forms
cofferlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coffers
  • If you put nothing in the tax coffers, no tax credit is refundable.
  • Few have the luxury of dipping into their parents' coffers.
  • Remember, the system was about to collapse and they needed the public coffers to keep an insolvent private banking industry alive.
  • So perhaps it all comes down to marketing, winning public acceptance, and gouging funding out of investors and public coffers.
  • So-called aid officers do this for one reason: the money you borrow goes into the college's coffers.
  • Money for advanced technology is now trickling out of government coffers.
  • Flush city coffers helped him reward loyalists and mollify would-be critics.
  • Replenish your coffers by increasing your income and cutting costs.
  • It cuts their profits for tax purposes without taking a penny out of their coffers.
  • With them comes billions of dollars of federal student grants and loans, to be poured into corporate coffers.
British Dictionary definitions for coffers


a chest, esp for storing valuables
(usually pl) a store of money
Also called caisson, lacuna. an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, etc
a watertight box or chamber
  1. short for cofferdam
  2. a recessed panel in a concrete, metal, or timber soffit
verb (transitive)
to store, as in a coffer
to decorate (a ceiling, dome, etc) with coffers
Word Origin
C13: from Old French coffre, from Latin cophinus basket, from Greek kophinos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coffers



mid-13c., from Old French cofre "a chest" (12c., Modern French coffre), from Latin cophinus "basket" (see coffin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coffers in the Bible

the receptacle or small box placed beside the ark by the Philistines, in which they deposited the golden mice and the emerods as their trespass-offering (1 Sam. 6:8, 11, 15).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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