One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A line of animals or slaves fastened or driven along together.
- ‘They were not gentle as they bound her arms behind her, gagged her, and fastened her into the coffle.’
- ‘We don't call this economic system ‘slavery’ any more because we have laws against the whips, coffles, and chains.’
- ‘She and the men on the coffle are able to plan an uprising together and that action binds them forever in friendship.’
- ‘She'd known something was different when the coffle of slaves had taken a different turn in the endless maze of corridors.’
- ‘When she was reasonably dry, she stepped off to stand patiently in the indicated coffle, waiting for the guards to chain her to the girls in front and behind.’
Mid 18th century: from Arabic qāfila ‘caravan’.
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