\ ˈkü \
plural coups\ ˈküz \

Definition of coup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful stroke or act She pulled off quite a coup when she snagged the usually reclusive author for an interview.


\ ˈkōp \
couped; couping; coups

Definition of coup (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly Scotland

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Synonyms & Antonyms for coup

Synonyms: Noun

accomplishment, achievement, acquirement, attainment, baby, success, triumph

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of coup in a Sentence


It was a major coup when they got the Vice President to appear on their show for an interview. winning that big contract was a real coup

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In 1991, a coup plunged Haiti into chaos, and Haitians started fleeing by boat to the US en masse, with 30,000 attempting to come by May 1992. Dara Lind, Vox, "William Barr hearing: attorney general nominee’s immigration record aligns with Trump’s," 16 Jan. 2019 To be clear, this newspaper never bought into the coup thesis. James Freeman, WSJ, "Abandoning the Trump ‘Authoritarian’ Argument," 14 Jan. 2019 The best outcome from this meeting that will undermine liberal democracies and encourage strongmen the world over would be maintenance of the status quo and a public relations coup for Putin. Nina Jankowicz, The New Republic, "Available in Helsinki: the Fate of Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 Streaming services scored a TV coup Thursday, with Netflix claiming the most primetime Emmy nominations, surpassing longtime No. 1 HBO. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Emmys 2018: Netflix topples HBO in battle for nominations," 12 July 2018 Last summer, Paris Saint-Germain pulled off a stunning transfer coup by snagging Neymar from Barcelona., "Real Madrid Confirm Cristiano Ronaldo Will Join Juventus After Requesting to Leave Santiago Bernabeu," 10 July 2018 Adding the veteran executive was seen as a coup for company, which has plowed money into the market for computing services delivered over the Internet., "Barnes & Noble fires CEO for violating company policies," 3 July 2018 These were often systems otherwise sighted only as tiny specks in photographs taken by spy planes including the U-2, and the ability to observe them up close was a priceless intelligence coup. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How the CIA Watched Soviet Parades for New Military Tech," 19 Dec. 2018 In its travel tow position, the iCamp looks a bit like a smushed sports car, with a flat top and a shapely coup-like rear. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Remote-controlled camper trailer pops up in 30 seconds," 19 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coup.' 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 coup


1791, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1572, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coup


French, blow, stroke — more at cope entry 1


Middle English, to strike, from Anglo-French couper — more at cope entry 1

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Statistics for coup

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for coup

The first known use of coup was circa 1572

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More Definitions for coup



English Language Learners Definition of coup

: an impressive victory or achievement that usually is difficult or unexpected


\ ˈkü \

Medical Definition of coup

: injury occurring on the side of an organ (as the brain) on which a blow or impact is received — compare contrecoup

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More from Merriam-Webster on coup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coup

Spanish Central: Translation of coup

Nglish: Translation of coup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coup for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about coup

Comments on coup

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


to gather or build up little by little

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