Definition of coif in English:


nounPlural coifs

  • 1A woman's close-fitting cap, now only worn under a veil by nuns.

    ‘her black habit and white starched coif’
    • ‘By 1066 it also had a hood or coif of the same material, attached directly or separate and worn over the tunic with a short cape covering the shoulders.’
    • ‘Upon her head was placed a coif to protect the holy oil from running down - the coif, we know from the accounts, was of cambric lace; there were gloves of white linen and fine cotton wool to dry up the oil after the anointing.’
    1. 1.1historical A metal skullcap worn under armour.
      • ‘Half a dozen soldiers in leather and chain mail hauberks and coifs formed a semicircle around them, hands on the swords sheathed at their hips.’
      • ‘When not at combat readiness, the mailed knight would unfasten his ventail, throw back his coif, and turn back his mittens but, for combat, he would be wholly covered in mail except at the groin and upper face.’
      • ‘By the eleventh century the coif was often integrated with the hauberk becoming a hood.’
      • ‘Head armour of the period consisted of helmets sometimes including a mail coif.’
      • ‘As an additional head protection, but occasionally worn alone beneath the mail coif, a metal skullcap called a basinet was developed.’
      • ‘Espidreen, no longer looking feminine, had exchanged her silks for a simple brown robe and wimple that covered her hair and made her look much like Giles, whose chain mail coif covered his own head.’
      • ‘Here is the mail shirt and coif you asked for, and two pair of heavy breeches as well.’
      • ‘The stranger dragged off his helmet and pulled the mail coif down away from his face to rest on his shoulders.’
  • 2North American informal

    short for coiffure
    • ‘Grace sighed and stood obediently as the clips were removed from her coif, leaving her long, golden hair to flow freely about her face.’
    • ‘When she had been dressed, her hairdresser entered and began to pile her long, thick, light brown curls into an elegant coif which would be laced with strands of crystals.’
    • ‘She had what some might call sharp features, but her liquid blue eyes and short, elfin coif of auburn hair usually made men look at her for those extra few seconds.’
    • ‘I did observe that the lady with full make-up, jewelry and coif was just as decked out today.’
    • ‘Where else can you see such megastars as Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and Christian Slater sporting bouffant coifs, shaggy sideburns and sequined jackets?’
    • ‘Looking at budding documentary filmmaker Don Letts' footage from the stand, it's tank tops and disco coifs as far as the eye can see.’
    • ‘Honoring the new code for soft sultry natural waves and curls worn down, Nicole matched her romantic coif with a glittering gown.’
    • ‘The woman was about the same age as the richly-dressed man, her brown hair swept up in an intricate coif and decorated with glittering hairpins.’
    • ‘He is cute, but that coif is definitely not working.’
    • ‘I find myself walking the extra 100 yards or so to the bathroom with the mirror so I can check my coif.’
    • ‘With the proper coif, anyone can secure a pole position.’
    • ‘The ambassador's wife was draped, to her toes, in shimmering purple; and the other ladies, scattered like rare peacocks around the salon, their hair upswept in shiny coifs, glittered in gilt and sequins.’
    • ‘We parted from the hug and he ran a hand over my hair-sprayed coif.’
    • ‘Nothing's tougher for an animator to mimic than hair, and the Affleck has a motionless coif fit for a video game character.’
    • ‘She looked as imperious and haughty as ever; her graying blue-silver hair swept up into an intricate coif, the elaborate detail of its design matching even her extravagant evening gown.’
    • ‘The abundant dark brown waves had been piled and pinned in a rather fashionable coif.’
    • ‘Not liking it much when she saw it, she told the stylist to take down the coif and let her hair hang free about her shoulders and then make a netting of the jewel strands around it.’
    • ‘She was one of those girls that could look amazing in sweatpants and a T-shirt, but she usually opted for things a little dressier and her curly blonde hair was usually up in some sort of cute coif.’
    • ‘Fortunately, she looked stellar in her Dionne Warwick-like coif.’
    • ‘Because I was merely a toddler - and not yet tainted by the world of vanity - my coif was of little concern to me at the time.’

verbcoifs, coifing, coiffing, coiffed, coifed

[with object]
  • Style or arrange (someone's hair)

    ‘Gloria's hair was coiffed in its usual way’
    ‘her coiffed blonde hair’
    • ‘You have to love sci-fi babes with perfectly coiffed hair and make up running around planets with high-heeled boots and pajama uniforms.’
    • ‘Her hair was coiffed in a blonde chignon, her makeup flawless, and her crème suit showed off the alabaster quality of her skin.’
    • ‘Next to Ojka's stiffly coifed hair, Uma's unkempt curls looked lovely around her face.’
    • ‘Robert confided that there are so many fabulous options for coiffing hair to perfection regardless of the challenge or current hair situation.’
    • ‘But her hair was coiffed in a more restrained style.’
    • ‘The French woman wear stylish short dresses, dye and coif their hair, use lipstick, and emphasize their sexuality.’
    • ‘Since my parents were now spending good money to keep my hair coiffed, I had to take very special care of it.’
    • ‘The bartender, a older woman, her weight gathering about her midsection like a water buoy, crow's feet and high greyish-black hair coiffed for the morning rush of mariners and toughs, nodded politely, pointing.’
    • ‘He has donned conservative business suits, trimmed down, and carefully coifed his gray-specked pompadour trademark hairstyle.’
    • ‘Only an hour previously she'd been on the high seas, and now she sat before me a vision of taste and coiffed hair.’
    • ‘Her hair is coiffed and gelled, rather than bushy and unmanageable.’
    • ‘When Elsa Gutman rang the bell of a Buenos Aires house last week wrapped in a thick fur coat and with immaculately coiffed hair, the inhabitants thought at first she might have lost her poodle.’
    • ‘His wife, who runs the register and takes special orders, is a fragile, waxen figure, with large strawberry-colored hair coiffed like cotton candy.’
    • ‘Yeah, they have taut bodies and perfectly coiffed hair.’
    • ‘Matron noticed the likeness between them, from their slight physiques to their long, angular faces and coiffed white hair.’
    • ‘His athletic frame and carefully coiffed hair, coupled with his talented tailor, makes his 53 years look more like 43 but take a glance at his CV and one would wonder how he has managed to fit so much into such a relatively short number of years.’
    • ‘But beneath the smile, the elegantly coiffed hair and the expensive Harvey Nichols clothes she was desperately unhappy.’
    • ‘So here she is on this bus, and the elderly gent sitting next to her is transfixed by the perfectly coiffed, frosted blonde hair, the imperious cheekbones and the effortlessly elegant, straight-backed deportment.’
    • ‘The women of St Margaret's are neither tough nor butch - they range from a 50-year-old mother of three with perfectly coiffed blonde hair and a pink polo shirt to a landscape gardener with a concave stomach and myriad tattoos.’
    • ‘Hoogie, whose new coiffed hairdo is a match for Thorpe's sweeping Eurotrash look, ripped the olive branch off his head after receiving his silver medal behind the Australian.’


Middle English: from Old French coife ‘headdress’, from late Latin cofia ‘helmet’.