coup de grâce

noun
\ˌkü-də-ˈgräs \
variants: or coup de grace
plural coups de grâce or coups de grace\ ˌkü-​də-​ˈgräs \

Definition of coup de grâce 

1 : a death blow or death shot administered to end the suffering of one mortally wounded

2 : a decisive finishing blow, act, or event The decision to cut funding is the coup de grâce to the governor's proposal.

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Synonyms for coup de grâce

Synonyms

capper, clincher, crusher, topper

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Did You Know?

Borrowed directly from French and first appearing in English at the end of the 17th century, "coup de grâce" (literally, a "stroke of grace" or "blow of mercy") originally referred to a mercy killing, or the act of putting to death a person or animal who was severely injured and unlikely to recover. (In some contexts the term is used to refer to the final act of executing a convicted criminal.) Less than fifty years later, "coup de grâce" had come to mean "an act or event that puts a definite end to something." Other "coup" terms that have made the jump from French to English include "coup de main," for a sudden, forceful attack, and "coup d'état" for a violent overthrow of a government usually by a small group.

Examples of coup de grâce in a Sentence

The legislature's decision to cut funding has administered the coup de grâce to the governor's proposal. the prosecutor presented his coupe de grâce—a videotape of the beating

Recent Examples on the Web

He was absent all afternoon Thursday as the Basques delivered what appeared to be his coup de grace and was later pictured leaving a Madrid restaurant in which he’d been holed up with advisers for seven hours as his political support ebbed away. Esteban Duarte, Bloomberg.com, "Rajoy Concedes, Sanchez Will Become Prime Minister: Spain Update," 1 June 2018 The coup de grace came from Joanne Calabria, the longtime spokeswoman for the news outlet on the other end of the dial, Channel 3, who eventually became a vice president there. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "How I learned not to use the 'C-word' | Stu Bykofsky," 1 June 2018 Before the coup de Grace, jokes at her expense were a bit risqué. The Economist, "Satire is booming after Robert Mugabe’s fall," 24 May 2018 And then, on Thursday, for his coup de grace, Monopoly scaled a 40-foot wall at the front of the Fontainebleau Hotel to paint a giant mural featuring the TAG Heuer logo alongside his namesake character. Scott Christian, Esquire, "How TAG Heuer’s Unlikely Collab With Graffiti Artist Alec Monopoly Came Together," 28 Dec. 2017 And then, in the coup de grace, a New York judge ruled Zervos's defamation suit against Trump could proceed and that a sitting president can be sued in state court for nonofficial acts. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "3 women. 1 day. 3 growing predicaments for Trump.," 21 Mar. 2018 The album's coup de grace horn parts were added after the fact. Randy Lewis, latimes.com, "Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats' incredible journey to sophomore album," 9 Mar. 2018 The coup de grace was Mitchell’s homage to Vince Carter on the last dunk of the night. Rohan Nadkarni, SI.com, "NBA Dunk Contest Grades: Donovan Mitchell Is Incredible While Dennis Smith Jr. Gets Robbed," 17 Feb. 2018 But the coup de grace is the rooftop deck, which offers city and river views, an outdoor kitchen, ample seating space and gas fire pit. Joey Morona, cleveland.com, "Modern townhome with rooftop deck in Lakewood seeks $575K: House of the Week," 2 Feb. 2018

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

1699, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for coup de grâce

French coup de grâce, literally, stroke of mercy

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The first known use of coup de grâce was in 1699

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More Definitions for coup de grâce

coup de grâce

noun

English Language Learners Definition of coup de grâce

: an action or event that finally ends or destroys something that has been getting weaker or worse

: a hit or shot that kills a person or animal that is suffering

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