Definition of coffer in English:



  • 1A strongbox or small chest for holding valuables.

    • ‘Other variations might include the integration of a box base used for storage, but despite appearances, box settles are not derivations of a chest or coffer.’
    • ‘It is also sometimes equally difficult to distinguish the Japanese lacquered coffers and caskets found in paintings from the japanned imitations made in Europe.’
    • ‘Most often illustrated, however, are lacquered boxes and coffers that seem to have been imported in larger quantities than any other lacquerware.’
    • ‘Some carpets of lesser value were shored elsewhere; others covered chests, writing desks, tables, and coffers.’
    • ‘Tellingly, the newspaper doesn't describe the politician's loot as being contained in a coffer, which has a sordid, old politics feel to it.’
    • ‘They searched through the libraries and studies, the walls of houses, chests, drawers, coffers and places where money is stored.’
    • ‘The prince had to order a second coffer of cigarettes, and coffee in small porcelain cups decorated with dying swans.’
    • ‘In the background is a large lacquered coffer, its side decorated with a flying bird and another perched in a tree.’
    • ‘The use of lacquered caskets and coffers for the storage of valuables recurs in a number of paintings.’
    strongbox, money box, cash box, money chest, treasure chest, casket, trunk, box, safe, safety-deposit box, safe-deposit box, repository
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    1. 1.1The funds or financial reserves of a group or institution.
      ‘the federal government's empty coffers’
      • ‘Newspapers are hardly known for opening up the coffers for promotion, even as they strong-arm their ad clients into doing so.’
      • ‘These levies, paid by all firms, go into a general coffer administered by the state.’
      • ‘The pub is one of a number of buildings being sold by the council to bring money back into its coffers.’
      • ‘He should keep his hands off students' money and public coffers.’
      • ‘I can only assume an already poor, disorganized party went dipping into the coffer.’
      • ‘In January 69,142 infringements were issued, pouring about $10 million into State Government coffers.’
      • ‘Throughout the Middle Ages prevailing opinion held that the might of a nation was determined by the size of its coffers.’
      • ‘The idea was to finance the empty coffers of the social security system in that way.’
      • ‘For more than a year he secretly used cash from the bank's coffers to keep his creditors at bay.’
      • ‘A teacher on a marathon mission to boost the coffers of a charity close to her heart is staging a festive fundraiser for the cause.’
      • ‘The country's golden run of strong economic growth has been kind to federal and state coffers.’
      • ‘It has long been suspected that the cash went straight into the coffers of the Treasury.’
      • ‘He was found guilty of funnelling investment funds into his own coffers and spent two years in prison.’
      • ‘Two years later, more than half the cash remains in the fund's coffers.’
      • ‘Later this week the financial coffers of this small circulation but widely read magazine will be swelled by a plaintive advert.’
      • ‘Auctions for Internet licenses can drive up the cost and slow investment, even as they provide funds for the government coffers.’
      • ‘In recent years, the collection has been in trouble, its fate uncertain, its coffers drained by legal battles and mismanagement.’
      • ‘Is the record price for oil biting into their profits, or does it mean more money for company coffers?’
      • ‘Households are consolidating debt, domestic demand is slowing and strong export prices are boosting the nation's coffers.’
      • ‘Very little of this cash has gone into improvements to retirement payouts for workers whose ‘deferred wages’ swelled the coffers of the pension funds.’
      fund, funds, reserves, resources, money, finances, wealth, cash, wherewithal, capital, assets, deep pockets, purse, kitty, pool, bank, treasury, exchequer
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  • 2A recessed panel in a ceiling.

    • ‘The underside of the floor slab was cast with domed coffers which have been fitted with circular glass light fittings.’
    • ‘The front door leads into a rotunda with a domed ceiling decorated with rosettes in the coffers.’
    • ‘In fact, different choices of the coffers or ground plan aspect ratios yield different consistent three-dimensional models.’
    • ‘Throughout the day coffers are seen in relief, set within a constant array of shadows that appear static when passed by the dynamic shaft of sunlight.’
    • ‘Then the coffers were returned to the mosque row by row and fixed in place.’
    • ‘On the main level, the architect drew the viewer's attention to the coved ceiling of the circular gallery by embellishing it with inset coffers.’
    • ‘This open office uses indirect light in a central coffer to add decoration to the room.’
    • ‘The latter features a modern bar with zinc top and red strip lighting; contemporary wall uplighters in steel have been fitted to highlight the coffers in the ceiling.’
    • ‘This is Penn Station's dining room as seen from below after the plaster coffers and pilasters were partially removed.’


Middle English: from Old French coffre chest via Latin from Greek kophinos basket.