The word coffin is derived from the Greek word kophinos meaning “basket.”
A coffin (also known as a casket in North American English) is a funerary box used in the display and containment of deceased remains – either for burial or cremation. Any box used to bury the dead in is a coffin. Use of the word "casket" in this sense began as a euphemism introduced by the undertaker's trade in North America; a "casket" was originally a box for jewelry. Some Americans draw a distinction between "coffins" and "caskets"; for these people, a coffin is a tapered hexagonal or octagonal (also considered to be anthropodial in shape) box used for a burial. Arectangular burial box with a split lid used for viewing the deceased is called a "casket" as seen in the picture above. Receptacles for crematedhuman ashes (sometimes called cremains) are called urns. A coffin may be buried in the ground directly, placed in a burial vault or cremated. The above ground burial is in a mausoleum. Often it is a large cement building at a cemetery, housing hundreds of bodies, or a small personal crypt.
The handles and other ornaments, such as doves, stipple crosses, crucifixes, or masonic symbols that often adorn the outside of a coffin are called “fittings” or “coffin furniture.” Organization of the inside of the coffin with various draperies is known as "trimming."…
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