• WordNet 3.6
    • n cofferdam large watertight chamber used for construction under water
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Cofferdam A water-tight inclosure, as of piles packed with clay, from which the water is pumped to expose the bottom (of a river, etc.) and permit the laying of foundations, building of piers, etc.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cofferdam A water-tight wooden inclosure built in a body of water, in order to obtain a firm and dry foundation for bridges, piers, etc., by pumping out the water from its interior. It is usually formed of two or more rows of piles, driven close together and rising above the level of high water, with clay packed in between the rows. Coffer-dams are sometimes built against the sides of vessels, in order to make repairs below the water-line without having recourse to a dry-dock.
    • n cofferdam In a war-ship, one of a series of compartments. in the vicinity of the water-line above the protective deck, built in the interior against the ship's side or around hatches, forming a double wall, which can be packed to prevent water from entering the vessel after the side has been pierced by shot. In the United States navy the packing is made of the pith of corn-stalks. See def. 2.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Cofferdam a water-tight structure used in engineering for excluding the water from the foundations of bridges, quay walls, &c., so as to allow of their being built dry
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. cofre, a chest—L. cophinus, a basket—Gr. kophinos.


In literature:

The whole was built in a cofferdam, quite dry, and the opening was a holiday.
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 429" by Various
And the night shift began to repair the cofferdam for old Jezebel had dropped suddenly back into her old trail.
"Still Jim" by Honoré Willsie Morrow
And Ross, the resident engineer, has already begun preliminaries, with cofferdams and such like mysteries.
"Cedar Creek" by Elizabeth Hely Walshe
First the Florida Walk canal had to be closed by two cofferdams.
"The Industrial Canal and Inner Harbor of New Orleans" by Thomas Ewing Dabney
The lower part of C bulkhead was doubled and was in the form of a cofferdam.
"Loss of the Steamship 'Titanic'" by British Government

In news:

BP PLC has capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam that was believed to be the source of a recent surface oil sheen observed near Mississippi Canyon 252 Block in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.
ROV survey reveals oil droplets from cofferdam , a container lowered over drill pipe during response, are probable source of surface sheen.
The boat hauling the cofferdam is bottom right.
It includes formulation of safety guidelines, writing working procedures, design and construction of cofferdams and any other necessary equipment all the way through to the repair or replacement.
The Davy Crockett , shown in an aerial view last March, was surrounded by a cofferdam and dismantled in place.
He looked at a photo of a railroad built on top of a circular cofferdam -- a watertight enclosure pumped dry so construction of the actual dam can take place.
The Davy Crockett, shown in an aerial view last March, was surrounded by a cofferdam and dismantled in place.
Elliot Njus/The Oregonian With the ailing Davy Crockett barge contained in a cofferdam, crews have begun dismantling the ship and removing debris from it.

In science:

Khan LA, 2009. Selecting Flow Frequency Distributions for Designing a Small Low-Head Dam Removal Cofferdam.
Distribution fitting 12. Sampling distribution of compounds abundance from plant species measured by instrumentation. Application to plants metabolism classification