\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

When Fiji’s traditional Western partners imposed sanctions after Mr. Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006, China stepped into the breach. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, "Fiji Coup Leader’s Re-Election Is Boon for China," 14 Nov. 2018 Over 100,000 people have been arrested under a state of emergency since the coup, and 150,000 purged from their jobs. New York Times, "Erdogan Begins New Term and Names His Son-in-Law Finance Minister," 9 July 2018 When Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi took power in a coup in July 2013, Egypt was plagued by blackouts. The Economist, "Egypt is optimistic about new gas discoveries in the Mediterranean," 5 July 2018 The hard Brexit faction in the House began making insurrectionary noises; Westminster went febrile; the chance of a Tory party coup against May was on everyone’s mind; further resignations were expected. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Connecticut has just a handful of start-ups in the industry space, making the Seven Stars Cloud deal a bit of a coup, experts said. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Arrival of Infosys and Seven Stars Raises Hopes For Financial Tech Future Of Hartford Region," 8 July 2018 The crisis is not (yet) one of coups d’état and democratic backsliding; democratic institutions have largely held. Christopher Claassen, Washington Post, "Support for democracy is declining — but not in the U.S. or other Western democracies," 5 July 2018 Though that would mean waiting another year to secure the defender’s services, it would be seen as something of a coup for Bayern to beat off widespread competition to sign Pavard., "Bayern Munich Preparing Big Money Move for French World Cup Star Benjamin Pavard Next Summer," 4 July 2018 Then Djokovic hired Andre Agassi to coach him, which was nothing short of a coup, given that the eight-time slam champion and former world No. Andrew Lawrence, The Atlantic, "What’s Going on With Novak Djokovic?," 30 June 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

8 Dec 2018

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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 make faulty or ineffective

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