1. (also kwäf) A coiffure.
2. A tight-fitting cap that covers the top, back, and sides of the head and is now often worn under a veil, as by nuns.
3. A white skullcap formerly worn by English lawyers.
a. A hood of chain mail or other heavy material, usually worn under a helmet.
b. A cervellière.
tr.v. coifed, coif·ing, coifs
1. (also kwäf) To arrange or dress (the hair).
2. To cover with or as if with a coif.
[Middle English, from Old French coife, from Late Latin cofea, helmet, of Germanic origin.]
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.