Word of the Day : April 26, 2019


noun PUTCH


: 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 or coup. 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 also attempted a putsch (known as the Beer Hall Putsch), but he ultimately gained control of the German government via other means.


The graduate-level seminar focuses on the events surrounding the August 1991 putsch against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

"[Christian Petzold's] thriller Transit twists modern concerns about national identity, immigration, and fascism into a personal, artsy mystery. Petzold starts with Georg …, an emotionally wounded German living in France, during a spookily contemporary, unspecified putsch, who seeks refuge in the Americas." — Armond White, National Review, 13 Mar. 2019

Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a noun that refers to an attempt to overthrow a government by persons working secretly from within: s _ _ _ er _ _ on.



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