(Greek kistê, Latin cista). A chest or box. Generally used as a coffer for the remains of the dead. The Greek and Roman cist was a deep cylindrical basket made of wickerwork, like a lady's work-basket. The basket into which voters cast their tablets was called a “cist;” but the mystic cist used in the rites of Ceres was latterly made of bronze.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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