Lookups for coup spiked after Turkey’s prime minister stated that units of the Turkish army took control of several bridges and that fighter jets were flying over Istanbul and Ankara. Though the situation was confused and early reporting showed uncertainty as to whether a military revolt against the elected government was in fact underway, the New York Times headline announced "Military Attempts Coup in Turkey, Prime Minister Says."
Coup is short for coup d'état, which is the French expression that literally means “stroke of state,” with “stroke” meaning “knock” or “blow.” It means “the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group.” Because coup suggests something being struck or hit, it is used in other expressions that refer to sudden events, such as coup de théâtre, which means “a sudden dramatic effect or turn of events.” Coup when used by itself can also mean “an impressive victory or achievement that usually is difficult or unexpected,” as in “winning that big contract was a real coup.”
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