cof·fer (kôfər, kŏfər)
1. A strongbox.
2. often coffers
a. Financial resources; funds.
b. A treasury: stole money from the union coffers.
3. Architecture A decorative sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, soffit, or vault.
4. The chamber formed by a canal lock.
5. A cofferdam.
6. A floating dock.
tr.v. cof·fered, cof·fer·ing, cof·fers
1. To put in a coffer.
2. Architecture To provide (a ceiling, for example) with decorative sunken panels.
[Middle English cofre, from Old French, alteration of *cofne, from Latin cophinus, basket; see COFFIN.]
(click for a larger image)coffer
interior view of the coffered
concrete dome of the
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.