Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Coffin and Casket

Coffin vs Casket

Many people treat the terms “coffin” and “casket” as the same. But in reality, these are two distinct boxes used for the dead especially if you are in the U.S. Their primary difference is in the shape of the box. A casket’s corners are often rounded whereas a coffin has a very odd form that seems to fit to the natural shape of the body. As such, a coffin has a narrower leg and head portion while the mid-area of the box is significantly wider. This is to better accommodate the bulge of the torso region. It does not come as a surprise that coffins were once nicknamed as the “heel-squeezer” as it is a more form-fitting container for the dead as opposed to the casket.

Coffins are generally less expensive than caskets. This is probably because of the use of fewer materials to make a more form-fitting container. Coffins can be made of many types of materials: wood, glass, and metal. Nevertheless, most, if not all, of the coffins’ lids are made of one type of material only. Caskets are more expensive most likely because of the addition of a textile lining (i.e. silk and velvet). It can even be built with a special air-tight seal that can help slow down the degradation process of the corpse.

In the broadest sense, a casket has a more liberal definition. A casket can be any box that serves to contain precious objects. For example, the Englishmen to this day still regard their jewelry boxes as caskets. It is only the term “coffin” which is immediately attached with the dead or burial connotation.

In terms of history, coffins have a rich historical base. The ancient Greeks and Neolithic Chinese were said to bury their dead relatives using coffins. From this point in time until the 17th century, coffins were designed to be the containers of the dead for those who have the capacity to buy them. Most coffins then were adorned with pricey limestone and had intricate designs. Especially in the 1700s, coffins were made for the masses not just the upper class.


1.Coffins have a narrowed head and leg portion while the midsection is somewhat bulged to accommodate the torso area of the dead body. A casket is a plainly rectangular-shaped container for the dead that can be opened at its top in two segments (like a two-door fridge).
2.Coffins are always associated with the dead while caskets are also sometimes linked to mean jewelry boxes and other containers for special objects.
3.Coffins are usually less expensive than caskets.
4.Coffins were already present thousands of years ago whereas caskets for the dead were introduced more recently.

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