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Coup d'état


Lookups spiked on July 4, 2013, and ran high throughout the week.


Whether or not the Egyptian army's removal of that country's president should be called a "coup d'état" became an important political question. U.S. law forbids foreign aid to a country if the head of state has been deposed "by military coup d'état."

Coup d'état (or just coup) means "the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group."

As Reuter's reported,

"... the White House and State Department have so far refused to characterize Mursi's ouster as a coup, with administration officials often resorting to verbal gymnastics to avoid using the word." (Patricia Zengerle, July 12, 2013)

In French, coup d'état literally means "stroke of the state" — "stroke" as in "knock" or "blow."

How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
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