\ ˈpu̇ch How to pronounce putsch (audio) \

Definition of putsch

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

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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 The 15-member bloc has taken a hard line against Mali since the putsch, shutting borders and halting financial flows. Katarina Hoije, Bloomberg.com, "Mali Junta Cedes Power to Retired Officer; Sanctions Remain," 25 Sep. 2020 The leader of that putsch, Prayuth Chan-ocha, is still prime minister. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Once Out, Consort to Thailand’s King Is Back In (and a Major General, Again)," 2 Sep. 2020 Weeks of public unrest and the final ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was the culmination of anxiety over his failure to steer the nation to recovery after a 2012 putsch that enabled extremists to gain a foothold in the north. Katarina Hoije, Bloomberg.com, "This African Country Has Had Enough of Bungling Politicians," 29 Aug. 2020 That putsch was staged from the same barracks where last week’s mutiny started, and organized by junior officers frustrated by the lack of resources deployed to fight Tuareg separatists. Yinka Ibukun, Bloomberg.com, "Nigeria Presses Regional Leaders to Secure Mali After Coup," 29 Aug. 2020 The junta leaders said protecting the palace was a key reason for their putsch, and the current government, which took power last year after elections that independent observers said were flawed, often wraps its policies in a royal mantle. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Thailand Police Arrest Activists, Escalating Protest Crackdown," 20 Aug. 2020 Get our daily newsletter 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 What if a yet-unknown but ambitious general engineered a putsch? Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "Where Is Kim Jong-un? How Experts Track North Korea’s Leader," 26 Apr. 2020 This may be the biggest obstacle to a boardroom putsch, and a reason that hedge funds seldom get very far in tech takeovers. Owen Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Twitter’s CEO once again under siege," 4 Mar. 2020

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


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Time Traveler for putsch

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The first known use of putsch was in 1919

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Putsch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/putsch. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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