I'm writing this question from my office so kindly allow my rough style.

Becuase I am a guid tour, I am checking the site in English where I will bring the non-native ( to my country ) visitors.

I will bring them here.

It says

he ceiling of the inner chamber is coffered and decorated with paintings of over a hundred flower varieties found around Nikko.

I am very sorry I am unable to copy the explanation by Merriam Unabridged, because I don't understand at all.

Could the verb "coffer" here, simply be almost the synonym of "to decorate"?

Thank you for your kind assistance in advance.(m_m)

  • Just so you know, the term is tour guide. Also, make sure to check multiple dictionaries, not just one, when you don't understand a particular word.
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:33
  • @userr2684291 Thanks. I will subscribe to OED too. But the Merriam alone was heavy, and then I came here. "Recess" what? And I went into recess and the explanation of the verb recess also confused me. So I truly appreciate ELL.
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 19:20
  • Oh, I think that while the OED is probably one of the best historical dictionaries (showing how words were used throughout history), it's not that great at explaining stuff, especially to learners of English (like me, haha), and it's difficult to navigate. There are plenty of dictionaries available for free online. See, this list. I, for example, really like the AHD, the ODE, and LDOCE (a learner's dictionary).
    – user3395
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 19:40
  • @userr2684291 Haha. Thanks again. While I'm paying to Merriam, why does the ODE so simply explain the word coffer more plainly. Haha. I certainly will use that.
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


From Merriam-Webster's definition of the verb coffer:

2 : to form (something, such as a ceiling) with recessed panels
// A ceiling that is coffered will bring an added dimension to a large room.

So, in your example sentence, it's saying this:

The ceiling of the inner chamber has recessed panels that are decorated with paintings of over a hundred flower varieties found around Nikko.

  • Thank you for your answer (m_m). I'm having a touble with the verb "recess(ed" then. Let me have some time, thanks.
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 3:05
  • 2
    @KentaroTomono Recessed panels just means that the overall ceiling is at a certain height, but that certain portions are even higher than that. Think of a section of wall that you can push in, like a button. After pushing it in, it stays pushed in. While that section of the wall is like that, it is no longer flush with the rest of the wall; it is recessed. Or, say I cut a hole in a wall and put a clock inside that hole, so that I'd have to reach my hand past the surface of the surrounding wall in order to touch the clock. The clock would be thought of as recessed. Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 3:14
  • Thanks so much for detailed answer! That's what I found at Yahoo! images but was not able to confirm if they are that ones. I really appreciate your simple explanation.
    – user17814
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 3:17

You must log in to answer this question.