ka·​put kə-ˈpu̇t How to pronounce kaput (audio)
variants or less commonly kaputt
: utterly finished, defeated, or destroyed
Their marriage is kaput.
: unable to function
The refrigerator is kaput.
often used with go
The engine suddenly went kaput.
: hopelessly outmoded

Did you know?

Kaput originated with a card game called piquet that has been popular in France for centuries. French players originally used the term capot to describe both big winners and big losers in piquet. To win all twelve tricks in a hand was called "faire capot" ("to make capot"), but to lose them all was known as "être capot" ("to be capot"). German speakers adopted capot, but respelled it kaputt, and used it only for losers. When English speakers borrowed the word from German, they started using kaput for things that were broken, useless, or destroyed.

Examples of kaput in a Sentence

once the Germans were forced to retreat from Stalingrad, the Nazi cause was kaput hard-line Soviet-style Communism became kaput in Russia
Recent Examples on the Web Now all three of those competitors are kaput, felled by runs on deposits during the biggest banking crisis in a decade and a half. Rob Copeland, New York Times, 14 June 2023 The Stooges are now functionally kaput—of the original lineup, only Pop is left. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2019 At least not on Sunday afternoon, nearly a full two days after the Clippers were supposed to be done, finished, as kaput as the Kings – those in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Jeff Miller, Orange County Register, 29 Apr. 2017 The damages for that less-than-brilliant marketing idea could be as much as $120 million, meaning the company as a whole is pretty much financially kaput. Susan Arendt, WIRED, 14 Mar. 2007

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

Word History


German kaputt, from French capot not having made a trick at piquet

First Known Use

1895, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of kaput was in 1895


Dictionary Entries Near kaput

Cite this Entry

“Kaput.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kaput. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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