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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for bankruptcy



  • solvency
Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Barneys New York and Lord & Taylor permanently closed all of their stores after filing bankruptcy. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Gucci, Louis, Tiffany, Tory and Chanel are moving into Plano’s Legacy West this spring," 15 Apr. 2021 Despite their misfortunes, the Hunts hadn’t yet suffered the blows that would push them in bankruptcy, and proved lively company. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Betting on Bitcoin? You should know the story of the Hunt brothers and the silver market," 15 Apr. 2021 TrillerNet’s majority owner is Proxima Media, an investment company led by Ryan Kavanaugh, the former head of mini-studio Relativity Media, which later entered bankruptcy and underwent restructuring. Los Angeles Times, "Shake-up at Triller. TikTok rival replaces CEO and buys AI firm," 14 Apr. 2021 Four San Antonio partnerships sought refuge in bankruptcy two years ago to stop foreclosure actions on their apartment complexes. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio partnerships that lost 652 apartment units in bankruptcy accuse finance company of fraud," 13 Apr. 2021 At the time of L&H’s bankruptcy, Microsoft owned 5 percent of the company’s shares, with Intel and Michael Dell also left holding the bag. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Microsoft’s Acquisition of Nuance Communications: A Second Go at Language Processing," 13 Apr. 2021 In January, AMC Theatres narrowly avoided bankruptcy thanks to $917 million in cash from investors and a line of credit from Odeon, their European subsidiary. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, "ArcLight Cinema and Pacific Theatres close over heavy pandemic losses," 13 Apr. 2021 More are expected as bankruptcy or dwindling oil supplies leave companies unable to pay for their clean up. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "Texas has a cautionary tale for Biden’s infrastructure plan," 12 Apr. 2021 Whether his bankruptcy gambit will work remains to be seen. New York Times, "N.R.A. Chief Takes the Stand, With Cracks in His Armor," 11 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of bankruptcy

circa 1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bankruptcy

Time Traveler for bankruptcy

Time Traveler

The first known use of bankruptcy was circa 1634

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bankruptcy

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bankruptcy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bankruptcy



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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on bankruptcy

What made you want to look up bankruptcy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!