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 The recalls drove Japan's Takata into bankruptcy and brought criminal charges against the company. CBS News, "Driver killed by exploding Takata air bag inflator in South Carolina," 22 Apr. 2021 According to the latest Haynes & Boone data, the count was 35 new bankruptcies in the second and third quarters of 2020 and over $50 billion in total debt going into bankruptcy for the full year. Bryce Erickson, Forbes, "Out Of The Crude Abyss," 19 Apr. 2021 That detour is complicating Credit Suisse’s efforts to recover money owed to investors after Greensill collapsed into bankruptcy last month, according to people familiar with the matter. Duncan Mavin, WSJ, "SoftBank Infusion Meant to Pay Back Credit Suisse Investors Went to Greensill Bank," 15 Apr. 2021 When the scandal went public in November of 2014, the Mt. Gox losses stood at $450 million, forcing the exchange handling 70% of all global trades into bankruptcy. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "These are the largest cyber thefts of the past decade—and 80% of them involve Bitcoin," 7 Apr. 2021 Alden has been buying newspaper chains since the 2007-2008 financial crisis forced several into bankruptcy. Washington Post, "The battle for Tribune: Inside the campaign to find new owners for a legendary group of newspapers," 5 Apr. 2021 The result, the lawsuit says, is that the cost of crop inputs dramatically outpaces yields, pushing some farms into bankruptcy. Rebecca Boone, Star Tribune, "Farmers file antitrust lawsuit against big ag companies," 5 Apr. 2021 The farmers hope the diversity achieved through cabruca will ward off a catastrophic fungus that killed cacao trees and forced 30,000 farms into bankruptcy in the 1990s. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cacao without deforestation? Land reform in Brazil bears fruit.," 26 Mar. 2021 Built in 2002, the Crowne Plaza went into bankruptcy last year. Trevor Fraser,, "Orlando Crowne Plaza hotel sells at auction for $35.7 million, beating estimates," 18 Mar. 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.

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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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bankruptcy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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.

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