coup

1 of 2

noun

plural coups ˈküz How to pronounce coup (audio)
1
: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics and especially the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group : coup d'état
In its first few hours, the coup seemed a terrifying confirmation of the power of the military, the police and, especially, the KGB.David Remnick
By nightfall, the troops had freed the captured President and ended the six-day-old coup, a military spokesman said.Marlise Simons
2
: a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful stroke or act
It's an impressive coup for the NCAA and its corporate sponsors to snag an artist with Springsteen's cachet for this event.Chris Strauss
From time to time, the conspiracy groupies pull off a huge disinformation coup.Alex Kozinski
Foreseeing a publicity coup, chairman Roger Smith was determined to exhibit an electric car at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 1990.Mark Fischetti
see also coup de grâce

coup

2 of 2

verb

couped; couping; coups
chiefly Scotland

Examples of coup in a Sentence

Noun 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
Testimony from senior military commanders published last month implicated Bolsonaro, a Donald Trump–style populist, in a coup attempt. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 8 Apr. 2024 The whole series builds to this mostly successful coup. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 7 Apr. 2024 After Stroessner was forced from power in 1989 in a military coup, Dr. Almada returned to the capital city of Asunción and uncovered a state archive of paperwork and recordings detailing decades of torture and killing. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 Then, in February 2021, Myanmar’s government fell to a military coup. Timothy McLaughlin, The Atlantic, 4 Apr. 2024 Matar had written about similar upheavals becoming a feature of daily life in Libya, not long after Qaddafi first seized power in a bloodless coup in 1969. Hazlitt, 3 Apr. 2024 The extraordinary casualties on the Russian side, for example, could lead to mutinies, and if the war seems to be at an impasse for very long, a palace coup could install more accommodating leadership. Branislav L. Slantchev, Foreign Affairs, 1 Apr. 2024 When four years later he was ousted in a military coup, the U.S. sent 20,000 troops to restore order in the country. Char Adams, NBC News, 28 Mar. 2024 As Argentina on Sunday marked the most traumatic date in its modern history – the 1976 military coup that ushered in a brutal dictatorship – President Javier Milei posted a startling video that demanded justice. Isabel Debre, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Mar. 2024
Verb
First, their sign up offer is excellent as new users can re-coup up to $1,000 in free bets if their bet losses. Doug Ziefel, Chicago Tribune, 2 Dec. 2022 This year's pace car is the second consecutive Chevy's Corvette Stingray, with last year's 2020 Chevy Corvette Stingray coup the choice. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 11 May 2021

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

French, blow, stroke — more at cope entry 1

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

circa 1572, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coup was circa 1572

Dictionary Entries Near coup

Cite this Entry

“Coup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coup. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

coup

noun
ˈkü
plural coups
ˈküz
1
: a brilliant, sudden, and usually highly successful action
2
Etymology

Noun

from French coup "blow, stroke"

Medical Definition

coup

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

More from Merriam-Webster on coup

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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