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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.