bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋk-(ˌ)rəp(t)-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the quality or state of being bankrupt
: utter failure or impoverishment

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.
Recent Examples on the Web This is the first time since 2009 – when GM and Chrysler went through bankruptcy and bailouts and Ford was also nearly out of cash – that the Canadian and US auto unions have negotiated at the same time in a previously unscheduled round of bargaining. Chris Isidore, CNN, 17 Sep. 2023 Somehow, that resulted in an emergency bankruptcy, wherein Clementine’s voice actor was emergency-evacuated into a parking lot mid-recording-session for the final season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. WIRED, 16 Sep. 2023 The gambit and its fallout provoked awe, speculation, bankruptcies and even congressional hearings. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Jones’s personal net worth is around $14 million, according to financial documents filed by Jones and his bankruptcy lawyers. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2023 The bankruptcy resulted in Genesis owing over $3 billion to unsecured creditors, including Gemini Earn customers who had around $1.1 billion in total funds on the platform. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 14 Sep. 2023 When the bubble finally burst, in 1991, unemployment and bankruptcies rose. M.h. Miller, New York Times, 12 Sep. 2023 While the passengers were waiting for Crystal’s comeback, Levis says, so too were the crew who had worked onboard before the previous parent company’s bankruptcy. Scott Laird, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 Sep. 2023 Landlords, already pressured by a slumping office real estate market, may prefer concessions for a large tenant like WeWork than the uncertain outcome of a bankruptcy. Alan Murray, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bankruptcy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bankruptcy was circa 1634

Dictionary Entries Near bankruptcy

Cite this Entry

“Bankruptcy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋ-(ˌ)krəp-(t)sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the condition of being bankrupt

Legal Definition


bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋ-ˌkrəp-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the quality or state of a bankrupt
filed for bankruptcy
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on bankruptcy

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