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coif1

[koif] /kɔɪf/
noun
1.
a hood-shaped cap, usually of white cloth and with extended sides, worn beneath a veil, as by nuns.
2.
any of various hoodlike caps, varying through the centuries in shape and purpose, worn by men and women.
3.
a cap similar to a skullcap, formerly worn by sergeants at law.
4.
Armor. a covering for the head and neck, made of leather, padded cloth, or mail.
5.
British. the rank or position of a sergeant at law.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cover or dress with or as with a coif.
Origin
1250-1300
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

coif2

[kwahf, koif] /kwɑf, kɔɪf/
noun, verb (used with object)
1.
coiffure (defs 1, 3).
Also, coiffe.
Origin
probably back formation from coiffure, or < French coiffer, its base
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for coifs

coif

/kɔɪf/
noun
1.
a close-fitting cap worn under a veil, worn in the Middle Ages by many women but now only by nuns
2.
any similar cap, such as a leather cap worn under a chain-mail hood
3.
(formerly in England) the white cap worn by a serjeant at law
4.
a base for the elaborate women's headdresses of the 16th century
5.
(kwɑːf) a less common word for coiffure (sense 1)
verb (transitive) coifs, coiffing, coiffed
6.
to cover with or as if with a coif
7.
(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
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Word Origin and History for coifs

coif

n.

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").

v.

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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Encyclopedia Article for coifs

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.

Learn more about coif with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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10
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