: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government
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.
German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed for his role in an intricate putsch aimed at assassinating Adolf Hitler that occurred on July 20, 1944.
"Mr. Duceppe did not bother disguising his efforts to organize a putsch replacing Ms. Marois last week." -- From an article by Graeme Hamilton in the National Post (Canada), January 23, 2012
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