bank·​rupt | \ ˈbaŋk-(ˌ)rəpt How to pronounce bankrupt (audio) \

Definition of bankrupt

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a debtor (such as an individual or an organization) whose property is subject to voluntary or involuntary administration under the bankruptcy laws for the benefit of the debtor's creditors
b : a person who becomes insolvent
2 : a person who is completely lacking in a particular desirable quality or attribute a moral bankrupt



Definition of bankrupt (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : reduced to a state of financial ruin : impoverished specifically : legally declared bankrupt the company went bankrupt
b : of or relating to bankrupts or bankruptcy bankrupt laws
2a : broken, ruined a bankrupt professional career
b : exhausted of valuable qualities : sterile a bankrupt old culture
c : destitute used with of or in bankrupt of all merciful feelings


bankrupted; bankrupting; bankrupts

Definition of bankrupt (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to reduce to bankruptcy
2 : impoverish defections had bankrupted the party of its brainpower

Synonyms & Antonyms for bankrupt

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for bankrupt


deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence. personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit exhaust stresses a complete emptying. her lecture exhausted the subject impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness. impoverished soil bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse. war had bankrupted the nation of resources

Examples of bankrupt in a Sentence

Noun As a lawyer, she specialized in working with bankrupts. Adjective The lawsuit could leave them bankrupt. she's a kind soul, but bankrupt of all common sense, I'm afraid Verb Several risky deals bankrupted the company. several bad investments bankrupted him
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The plan is intended to prevent the company from being dissolved, forced into liquidation or formally declared bankrupt. Michelle Toh, CNN, 19 May 2020 India was granted independence in 1947 by a Britain left bankrupt after World War II. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 17 Oct. 2019 Ghosn was sent to Japan by Renault in the late 1990s and is credited with turning around a then near-bankrupt Nissan. Washington Post, 12 Nov. 2019 China’s Hong Kong puppet regime, albeit bankrupt of any legitimacy, is still unwilling to cede power to the people. Joshua Wong, Quartz, 3 Sep. 2019 From Henry Ford to Donald Trump, America has lionized business leaders (and shameless bankrupts) who disdain history. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 6 June 2019 That perception came back to bite in big way later in 2008, with the failure of investment bank Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt on Sept. 15, 2008. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2018 After earning $17 million, the men declared the company bankrupt. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, 16 June 2018 Tarsila, bankrupt, divorced from de Andrade and increasingly Marxist, would veer into a more politically engaged style. Jason Farago, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Coinbase has warned that, were the crypto exchange to go bankrupt, its users could lose all their cryptocurrencies that are stored in Coinbase accounts. David Meyer, Fortune, 11 May 2022 Cities and counties cannot enact programs that would go bankrupt once the money expires. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 The law also requires coal mining companies to secure bonds to cover the costs of reclamation should the companies go bankrupt. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, 18 Apr. 2022 Once a sprawling conglomerate, CEFC was allowed to go bankrupt, but not before Hunter and Jim Biden were paid about $5 million, according to a report compiled by Senators Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.). The Editors, National Review, 8 Apr. 2022 Imagine if Microsoft were to go bankrupt and Windows were to disappear from the marketplace. Tim De Chant, Ars Technica, 30 Mar. 2022 Planes still fly in and out of Chicago’s other two airports, the world didn’t end and Chicago did not go bankrupt. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 23 Mar. 2022 When Tower went bankrupt in 2006, the parcels were acquired by Milwaukee Industrial Trade Center. La Risa R. Lynch, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 May 2022 Boris Becker was jailed by a London court on Friday for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets after he was declared bankrupt. NBC News, 29 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the risk of creating bubbles that could bankrupt untold numbers of people is the same. The Editors, Scientific American, 26 Apr. 2022 Will future cases of Type 2 diabetes bankrupt our health care system? Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 7 Apr. 2022 The truth is that characterizing Disney as a creepy company which aims to morally bankrupt kids -- an extreme position -- has become quite mainstream in GOP media circles. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 Cox has said the bill invites lawsuits that could bankrupt the state’s high school athletics governing body. NBC News, 23 Mar. 2022 Over the next two weeks, her own players will bankrupt her. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Mar. 2022 But the kind of fine that could bankrupt a small business owner might barely register for a major corporation like McDonald’s. Alex Park, The New Republic, 24 Jan. 2022 The real risk to the U.S. economy and financial stability is regulators, like Mr. Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency Saule Omarova, who want to bankrupt fossil-fuel companies. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 Nov. 2021 Federal guidelines permit state Medicaid programs to cover in-home care for eligible children regardless of their families’ income, since the price of round-the-clock nursing would bankrupt almost anyone. New York Times, 4 June 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bankrupt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bankrupt


1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bankrupt


modification of Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French banqueroute bankruptcy, from Old Italian bancarotta, from banca bank + rotta broken, from Latin rupta, feminine of ruptus, past participle of rumpere to break — more at bank, reave

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Time Traveler for bankrupt

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The first known use of bankrupt was in 1565

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Dictionary Entries Near bankrupt

bank run



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Cite this Entry

“Bankrupt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bankrupt


bank·​rupt | \ ˈbaŋk-ˌrəpt How to pronounce bankrupt (audio) \

Kids Definition of bankrupt

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: not having enough money to pay debts


bankrupted; bankrupting

Kids Definition of bankrupt (Entry 2 of 3)

: to cause to not have enough money to pay debts That last risky deal bankrupted the company.



Kids Definition of bankrupt (Entry 3 of 3)

: a person or business that does not have enough money to pay debts


bank·​rupt | \ ˈbaŋ-ˌkrəpt How to pronounce bankrupt (audio) \

Legal Definition of bankrupt

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a debtor (as an individual or organization) whose property is subject to administration under the bankruptcy laws for the benefit of the debtor's creditors was adjudicated a bankrupt — see also debtor



Legal Definition of bankrupt (Entry 2 of 3)

: ruined financially especially : judicially declared a bankrupt the company is bankrupt — compare insolvent


transitive verb

Legal Definition of bankrupt (Entry 3 of 3)

: to reduce to bankruptcy was bankrupted by attorney's fees

More from Merriam-Webster on bankrupt

Nglish: Translation of bankrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bankrupt for Arabic Speakers


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