bank·​rupt·​cy | \ ˈbaŋk-(ˌ)rəp(t)-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio) \
plural bankruptcies

Definition of bankruptcy

1 : the quality or state of being bankrupt
2 : utter failure or impoverishment

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Synonyms & Antonyms for bankruptcy



  • solvency
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Examples of bankruptcy in a Sentence

The company is facing bankruptcy. The company was forced into bankruptcy. The number of bankruptcies was especially high last year. Critics view the decision as an example of moral bankruptcy on the part of the administration.
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Recent Examples on the Web Pier 1 filed for bankruptcy in February after nearly 60 years in business. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Bankrupt Pier 1 becomes a walking zombie," 31 July 2020 And if there had not been a shoring up right then, the vast majority of airlines would have filed for bankruptcy. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "The Fight to Save Jobs in the Airline Industry," 31 July 2020 Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after getting lapped by rivals in digital photography and failing to make good on an earlier multibillion-dollar acquisition of a pharmaceutical company. Michael Tobin,, "Kodak pivots to drugs after abandoning photography, crypto," 31 July 2020 In May, big-name companies started filing for bankruptcy, including retailer J.C. Penney and rental car company Hertz. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, "U.S. economy contracted at fastest quarterly rate on record from April to June as coronavirus walloped workers, businesses," 30 July 2020 One of the nation's most popular pizzeria chains filed for bankruptcy Thursday, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for its financial struggles. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "California Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy, citing pandemic woes," 30 July 2020 MyTheresa had appreciated to $976 million by the time Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy, according to the creditors’ report. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Bankruptcy court will try to resolve a fight between Neiman Marcus and its creditors," 29 July 2020 His first company named Fisker made a sleek ultra-luxury electric car called the Fisker Karma but ended up stopping production and selling assets to a Chinese company after battery supplier A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Fisker Ocean SUV to arrive in late 2022 as electric vehicle start-up makes deal to go public," 14 July 2020 A dozen years ago, luxury developer Tishman Speyer was in the middle of selling units in the Infinity condo complex when Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy and the stock market plummeted 20%. J.k. Dineen,, "Will luxury condos sell in a pandemic? SF high-rise is the market’s first big test," 12 July 2020

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

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First Known Use of bankruptcy

circa 1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for bankruptcy

Time Traveler

The first known use of bankruptcy was circa 1634

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Statistics for bankruptcy

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bankruptcy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for bankruptcy


How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bankruptcy

: the condition of being bankrupt : a condition of financial failure caused by not having the money that you need to pay your debts
: an occurrence in which a person, business, etc., goes bankrupt
: the condition of completely lacking a good or desired quality


bank·​rupt·​cy | \ ˈbaŋk-ˌrəpt-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio) \
plural bankruptcies

Kids Definition of bankruptcy

: the state of not having enough money to pay debts The company faces bankruptcy.


bank·​rupt·​cy | \ ˈbaŋ-ˌkrəp-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio) \
plural bankruptcies

Legal Definition of bankruptcy

1 : the quality or state of a bankrupt filed for bankruptcy
2 : the administration of an insolvent debtor's property by the court for the benefit of the debtor's creditors the debt was discharged in bankruptcy bankruptcy proceedings — see also adequate protection, Bankruptcy Code — compare insolvency, receivership

Note: Bankruptcy protects the debtor from debt collection by creditors. A debtor may file for bankruptcy, which is called “voluntary bankruptcy,” or a creditor may petition the court to declare the debtor bankrupt, which is called “involuntary bankruptcy.” Involuntary bankruptcy is allowed only under chapter 7 or chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. There are four types of relief available to individuals or corporations under the Bankruptcy Code: liquidation (chapter 7), reorganization (chapter 11), debt adjustment for a family farmer or fisherman (chapter 12), and debt adjustment for an individual with a regular income (chapter 13). Municipalities may file for bankruptcy under chapter 9. The court determines which debts are to be repaid according to their priority, and the debtor is typically granted a discharge from unpaid debts that are dischargeable under the Bankruptcy Code.

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Comments on bankruptcy

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