\ ˈkü How to pronounce coup (audio) \
plural coups\ ˈküz How to pronounce coups (audio) \

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 How to pronounce coup (audio) \
couped; couping; coups

Definition of coup (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly Scotland

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for coup

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 His toppling in a coup in 2017 produced catharsis, as Zimbabweans, even those who once admired Mugabe, expressed hope that life would change. The Economist, "A sad, tawdry end for Robert Mugabe," 15 Sep. 2019 Zimbabwe has been on a downward trajectory since the fall of Robert Mugabe, who was replaced by Mr. Mnangagwa in a coup in November 2017, and after months in Singapore for medical treatments, died on Friday at the age of 95. New York Times, "A Music Genre Grows in Zimbabwe, Fueled by Rage Against Authority," 7 Sep. 2019 However, after 37 years in power, refusing to step down, that legacy became entwined with violent oppression toward his opponents, which led to him being ousted in a military coup in 2017. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Dead At 95," 6 Sep. 2019 In 1969, a coup in Libya brought Moammar Gadhafi to power., "This day in history," 1 Sep. 2019 As broadcast’s presence on the Emmy stage shrinks, The Good Place scored a coup in landing the Big Four’s only best comedy nomination — and for its third season at that. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Good Place' Creator on Portraying Current Events Onscreen," 8 Aug. 2019 In his spare time, Judge authored two books, one on marketing and the other a fiction novel about a coup in Turkey. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Someone San Diego Should Know: Marty Judge," 2 Aug. 2019 The 67-year-old leader came to power in a coup in 1990 and has survived numerous bids to depose him. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "After a record 16-month ban, this president has unblocked social media access," 16 July 2019 The 25 vehicles allegedly belonged to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of the African nation’s president who took power through a coup in 1979. Fox News, "Politician's $13 million supercar stash seized in corruption probes to be auctioned for charity," 2 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for coup


How to pronounce coup (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of coup

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


\ ˈkü How to pronounce coup (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on coup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


something of little or no value

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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