One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long, narrow box, typically of wood, in which a corpse is buried or cremated.
box, sarcophagusView synonyms
- ‘A procession of tiny white coffins bearing the bodies of three young brothers who died when a fire engulfed their home brought tears to those present.’
- ‘The boy was buried in the same coffin as his mother.’
- ‘You may still find dead people being buried without coffins, simply because relatives cannot afford to buy one.’
- ‘Around him, wailing women collapsed over the coffins of the dead.’
- ‘In the distance, a funeral party lowered a coffin into the ground.’
- ‘Some of the dead were buried in log coffins set in pits in the ground, others were placed on the ground surface and covered in logs or wooden frames.’
- ‘The exposed dark wood of the coffins had degraded but they were basically undamaged.’
- ‘The minister, many scandals later - including one about over-priced coffins for dead soldiers - is still there.’
- ‘Today, people tend to be buried in newly-made coffins.’
- ‘The first of the funerals is expected to take place today and the city's main cathedral will be given over to the coffins of the dead over the weekend.’
- ‘All 34 bodies were placed in coffins and loaded onto military trucks for burial 100 meters from the airport runway.’
- ‘The dead person is buried in a coffin about two feet below ground level.’
- ‘Sofia took the bodies of her daughters, placed them in a coffin and buried them outside of town.’
- ‘Rescuers used ropes to pull out the bodies, which were later washed, wrapped in plastic sheets and buried in wooden coffins.’
- ‘The body is buried without a coffin in a grave deep enough to conceal odor and prevent abuse by animals.’
- ‘It was as if the body in the wooden coffin that was being lowered into the ground was not Scott's but someone else.’
- ‘Heavy slabs had been laid atop the ground over their coffins to discourage body snatchers.’
- ‘More traditional-minded people in China sometimes like to rest their dead in coffins, but the bodies are subsequently cremated without the coffins.’
- ‘The big steel gates opened again and a three wheeled motorcycle drove in pulling a low trailer upon which were perched two plain wood coffins.’
- ‘Dead persons are buried in coffins on the grounds of a church or are cremated and have their ashes buried in the graveyard.’
- 1.1informal An old and unsafe aircraft or vessel.
- ‘This has been custom for as long as anyone who has ever lived upon this coffin of a ship can remember.’
- ‘Protestors call the country's airplanes flying coffins.’
- ‘The increased use of aeroplanes in warfare led to such terms as Beauey, biscuit bomber, and flying coffin.’
Put (a dead body) in a coffin.
- ‘While the embalmed heart was returned to the chest of the deceased, the other organs were separately packaged, coffined, and stored.’
Middle English (in the general sense ‘box, casket’): from Old French cofin ‘little basket or case’, from Latin cophinus (see coffer).
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