Trend Watch

Coup d'état

U.S. policy in Egypt depends on the meaning ...


Lookups spiked on July 4, 2013, and ran high throughout the week.


Whether or not the Egyptian army's removal of that country's president should be called a "coup d'état" became an important political question. U.S. law forbids foreign aid to a country if the head of state has been deposed "by military coup d'état."

Coup d'état (or just coup) means "the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group."

As Reuter's reported,

"... the White House and State Department have so far refused to characterize Mursi's ouster as a coup, with administration officials often resorting to verbal gymnastics to avoid using the word." (Patricia Zengerle, July 12, 2013)

In French, coup d'état literally means "stroke of the state" - "stroke" as in "knock" or "blow."

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!