Nugget of Knowledge: Coffin or Casket?

Casket has four sides, while a coffin has six

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – What’s the difference between a coffin and a casket?

It’s really just one of shape.

The word coffin came from an old French word that meant “basket.”

A coffin came to mean a funeral box with six sides, tapered to fit the human body: wide at shoulder level and narrower down by the feet.

Casket has less of a negative sound to it.

In 19th century America, the word casket meant an ornamental box that held jewelry or some special item.

Undertakers, who began to call themselves funeral directors, wanted to make funerals as comfortable as possible for the family.

They began to call coffins caskets — to store something precious — and redesigned them as four sides boxes.

Funeral directors discovered that mourners found boxes more comforting than a container shaped like a human body.

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