bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋk-(ˌ)rəp(t)-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the quality or state of being bankrupt
: utter failure or impoverishment

Example Sentences

The company is facing bankruptcy. The company was forced into bankruptcy. The number of bankruptcies was especially high last year. Critics view the decision as an example of moral bankruptcy on the part of the administration.
Recent Examples on the Web In 2014, Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit national chain, collapsed, leaving more than half a million borrowers neither eligible for bankruptcy nor able to transfer their credits elsewhere. Eleni Schirmer, The New Yorker, 23 Feb. 2023 After the cryptocurrency exchange, headed by founder Sam Bankman-Fried, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, other crypto firms began foundering. Ben Weiss, Fortune Crypto, 21 Feb. 2023 Mired in debt amounting to about $110 million, Medly had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December. oregonlive, 16 Feb. 2023 Gawker Media, founded by Nick Denton in 2003, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016 after a judge in Florida issued a $140 million final judgment in favor of Hulk Hogan. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2023 Estridge eventually filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2011, leaving him debts ranging from $50 million to $100 million, according to The Indianapolis Star archive. Claire Rafford, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Jan. 2023 With the restaurant closed since 2020 because of the pandemic, its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 6, 2021. Vulture, 26 Dec. 2022 If things get really bad, some consumers consider filing for bankruptcy or attempting to obtain a new social security number entirely, but Buzzard said a $1,200 bankruptcy filing fee would probably be better used to see a good attorney. Nick Penzenstadler, USA Today, 13 Dec. 2022 When the company collapsed into bankruptcy amid allegations of misusing customer funds, questions of business governance were joined by ones of charitable philosophy. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bankruptcy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bankruptcy was circa 1634

Dictionary Entries Near bankruptcy

Cite this Entry

“Bankruptcy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋ-(ˌ)krəp-(t)sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the condition of being bankrupt

Legal Definition


bank·​rupt·​cy ˈbaŋ-ˌkrəp-sē How to pronounce bankruptcy (audio)
plural bankruptcies
: the quality or state of a bankrupt
filed for bankruptcy
: the administration of an insolvent debtor's property by the court for the benefit of the debtor's creditors
the debt was discharged in bankruptcy
bankruptcy proceedings
see also adequate protection, Bankruptcy Code compare insolvency, receivership

Note: Bankruptcy protects the debtor from debt collection by creditors. A debtor may file for bankruptcy, which is called “voluntary bankruptcy,” or a creditor may petition the court to declare the debtor bankrupt, which is called “involuntary bankruptcy.” Involuntary bankruptcy is allowed only under chapter 7 or chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. There are four types of relief available to individuals or corporations under the Bankruptcy Code: liquidation (chapter 7), reorganization (chapter 11), debt adjustment for a family farmer or fisherman (chapter 12), and debt adjustment for an individual with a regular income (chapter 13). Municipalities may file for bankruptcy under chapter 9. The court determines which debts are to be repaid according to their priority, and the debtor is typically granted a discharge from unpaid debts that are dischargeable under the Bankruptcy Code.

More from Merriam-Webster on bankruptcy

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