putsch

noun
\ ˈpu̇ch How to pronounce putsch (audio) \

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 Following a year of hopeful political, economic, and diplomatic progress, the bloody putsch threatened to derail the democratic transition of Africa’s second-most-populous nation. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "The miscalculations African governments keep making with social media and internet blocks," 3 Oct. 2019 Abiy said the putsch had originated in the northern region of Amhara, Ethiopia’s second-most populous, and was the work of General Asamnew Tsige, Amhara’s head of security. The Economist, "Killings and claims of an attempted putsch rock Ethiopia," 27 June 2019 And while some described Moulton’s putsch as sexist, and, even more ridiculously, ageist, Pelosi has hardly been an enthusiastic supporter of women in party leadership. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "Politics is all about timing, and it isn’t Seth Moulton’s time," 22 Aug. 2019 Prayuth Chan-ocha, the general who has served as Thailand’s prime minister since leading a coup in 2014, appeared to threaten another putsch, this time against his own government. The Economist, "Politics this week," 6 July 2019 His father, Hafez al-Assad, had come to power in November 1970 as the survivor of nearly annual military putsches in the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Glass, Harper's magazine, "“Tell Me How This Ends”," 10 Feb. 2019 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

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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Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Putsch.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putsch. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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