putsch

noun
\ˈpu̇ch \

Definition of putsch 

: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government

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Did You Know?

In its native Swiss German, putsch originally meant "knock" or "thrust," but these days both German and English speakers use it to refer to the kind of government overthrow also known as a coup d'état. Putsch debuted in English shortly before the tumultuous Kapp Putsch of 1920, in which Wolfgang Kapp and his right-wing supporters attempted to overthrow the German Weimar government. Putsch attempts were common in Weimar Germany, so the word appeared often in the stories of the English journalists who described the insurrections. Adolf Hitler himself even attempted a putsch (known as the Beer Hall Putsch), but he ultimately gained control of the German government via other means.

Examples of putsch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Turkey’s president already had a taste for hounding opponents long before the abortive putsch of 2016. The Economist, "Turkey’s President Erdogan may yet be defeated," 21 June 2018 After years of reputational decline because of an army coup in 2014 — one of a dozen successful putsches since the country abolished an absolute monarchy in 1932 — Thailand’s military has been handed an opportunity to burnish its image. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 After years of reputational decline because of an army coup in 2014 — one of a dozen successful putsches since the country abolished an absolute monarchy in 1932 — Thailand’s military has been handed an opportunity to burnish its image. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds," 10 July 2018 Prayuth strengthened ties with the royal household and earned himself the nickname Little Sarit, after Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, who seized power through a putsch in 1957 and helped raise the monarchy to its paramount role in Thai society. Time, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," 21 June 2018 The 2014 coup was the second military putsch aimed at unseating a political force loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications magnate who served as prime minister from 2001 to 2006. New York Times, "Anniversary of Thai Coup Draws Uneasy Protest and Police Threats," 22 May 2018 That led to his ouster by another putsch in August 1983 headed by his own defense minister. Sonia Perez D., USA TODAY, "Former Guatemala dictator Rios Montt, 91, dies facing genocide charges," 3 Apr. 2018 In power, Rios Montt alienated a broad spectrum of society, including the military, businesspeople and the Catholic Church, leading to his ouster by another putsch in August 1983 led by his own defense minister. Time, "Former Guatemala Dictator Efrain Rios Montt Dies at 91," 1 Apr. 2018 The Justice Ministry said in July that more than 50,000 people had been arrested and 169,013 subjected to legal proceedings since the putsch. Washington Post, "World Digest: Sept. 18, 2017," 18 Sep. 2017

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

1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for putsch

German

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The first known use of putsch was in 1919

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