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[koif] /kɔɪf/
a hood-shaped cap, usually of white cloth and with extended sides, worn beneath a veil, as by nuns.
any of various hoodlike caps, varying through the centuries in shape and purpose, worn by men and women.
a cap similar to a skullcap, formerly worn by sergeants at law.
Armor. a covering for the head and neck, made of leather, padded cloth, or mail.
British. the rank or position of a sergeant at law.
verb (used with object)
to cover or dress with or as with a coif.
1250-1300; Middle English coyf(e) < Anglo-French coife, Old French coiffe < Late Latin cofia, cofea headdress, sort of cap < West Germanic *kuf(f)ja


[kwahf, koif] /kwɑf, kɔɪf/
noun, verb (used with object)
coiffure (defs 1, 3).
Also, coiffe.
probably back formation from coiffure, or < French coiffer, its base Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for coif
  • Framed by a nun's coif, her mobile features express both devotional ecstasy and inner torment with ease.
  • She seems poised to poke more fun at the offending coif when she realizes that the mike is on and the camera is recording.
  • He was a rather dapper fellow-always wore nappy little bow ties, had that little coif of hair.
  • Show hair and makeup people weren't allowed to touch governor's coif.
British Dictionary definitions for coif


a close-fitting cap worn under a veil, worn in the Middle Ages by many women but now only by nuns
any similar cap, such as a leather cap worn under a chain-mail hood
(formerly in England) the white cap worn by a serjeant at law
a base for the elaborate women's headdresses of the 16th century
(kwɑːf) a less common word for coiffure (sense 1)
verb (transitive) coifs, coiffing, coiffed
to cover with or as if with a coif
(kwɑːf). to arrange (the hair)
Word Origin
C14: from Old French coiffe, from Late Latin cofea helmet, cap, of obscure origin
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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Contemporary definitions for coif

See queif's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for coif

late 13c., "close-fitting cap," from Old French coife "skull-cap, cap worn under a helmet, headgear" (12c., Modern French coiffe), from Late Latin coifa "a cap, hood" (source of Italian cuffia, Spanish cofia, escofia), of West Germanic origin (cf. Old High German kupphia, Middle High German kupfe "cap").


mid-15c., "to cover with a cap," from Middle French coiffer, from Old French coife (see coif (n.)); sense of "to arrange the hair" is attested in English from 1835. Related: Coifed; coifing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coif in Technology
Fortran with interactive graphic extensions for circuit design, on UNIVAC 1108.
["An Interactive Software System for Computer-Aided Design: An Application to Circuit Projects", CACM 9(13), Sep 1970].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for coif

close-fitting cap of white linen that covered the ears and was tied with strings under the chin, like a baby's bonnet. It appeared at the end of the 12th century as an additional head protection worn under the hood by men, and it persisted into the 16th century as ecclesiastic or legal headgear, sometimes worn alone, sometimes as an undercap.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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