coup de grâceplay
Simple Definition of coup de grâce
: an action or event that finally ends or destroys something that has been getting weaker or worse
: a hit or shot that kills a person or animal that is suffering
Full Definition of coup de grâceplural
coups de grâceor
coups de grace\ˌkü-də-\
1 : a deathblow or death shot administered to end the suffering of one mortally wounded
2 : a decisive finishing blow, act, or event
Examples of coup de grâce in a sentence
The legislature's decision to cut funding has administered the coup de grâce to the governor's proposal.
<the prosecutor presented his coupe de grâce—a videotape of the beating>
Did You Know?
Borrowed directly from French and first appearing in English at the end of the 17th century, "coup de grâce" (literally, a "stroke of grace" or "blow of mercy") originally referred to a mercy killing, or the act of putting to death a person or animal who was severely injured and unlikely to recover. (In some contexts the term is used to refer to the final act of executing a convicted criminal.) Less than fifty years later, "coup de grâce" had come to mean "an act or event that puts a definite end to something." Other "coup" terms that have made the jump from French to English include "coup de main," for a sudden, forceful attack, and "coup d'état" for a violent overthrow of a government usually by a small group.
Variants of coup de grâce
coup de grace
Origin and Etymology of coup de grâce
French coup de grâce, literally, stroke of mercy
First Known Use: 1699
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up coup de grâce? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).