coup d'état


ˌkü-(ˌ)dā-ˈtä How to pronounce coup d'état (audio)
variants or coup d'etat
plural coups d'état or coups d'etat ˌkü-(ˌ)dā-ˈtä How to pronounce coup d'état (audio)
also coup d'états or coup d'etats
: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics
especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group
a military coup d'état of the dictator

Examples of coup d'état in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The ceremony came after Nguema seized power in a coup d'etat last week, in the latest usurping of control in African countries. Justin Klawans, The Week, 4 Sep. 2023 Bazoum was deposed from power three weeks ago during a coup d'etat that installed a military junta in Niger, and has been imprisoned in the basement of the presidential palace ever since. Justin Klawans, The Week, 12 Aug. 2023 Fighting began after the RSF attempted to seize control of the Sudanese government in an ongoing coup d'etat. Justin Klawans, The Week, 18 Apr. 2023 A lot of crazy things have to happen for the Colts to make it to January, including Ralph Nader seizing the presidency in a bloody coup d'etat. Nat Newell, The Indianapolis Star, 10 July 2020 Also in attendance at that event was the junta leader who seized power in Guinea a little over a year after Mali's coup d'etat. Krista Larson, ajc, 24 Sep. 2022 In August 1991, hard-liners in the government launched an abortive coup d'etat. William Welch and Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2022 The 84-year-old former leader was overthrown in a coup d'etat in September by a military junta that now leads the West African country. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Schiff may also want to be reminded of José Sanjurjo y Sacanell, the Spanish general who led the July 1936 coup d'etat that started the Spanish Civil War. Peter Suciu, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

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

Word History


French, literally, stroke of state

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of coup d'état was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near coup d'état

Cite this Entry

“Coup d'état.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

coup d'état

coup d'é·​tat
plural coups d'état
: a sudden overthrowing of a government by a small group

from French coup d'état, literally, "stroke of state (the government)," from coup "blow, stroke" and de "of" and état "state"

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