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90s Slang You Should Know

coup de grâce

[kooduh grahs] /kudə ˈgrɑs/
noun, plural coups de grâce
[kooduh grahs] /kudə ˈgrɑs/ (Show IPA).
a death blow, especially one delivered mercifully to end suffering.
any finishing or decisive stroke.
Origin of coup de grâce
literally, blow of mercy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for coup de grace
Historical Examples
  • Its use was to give the coup de grace, the final blow, to the foe who would not surrender.

  • It was the middle of a wet June, and the season received its coup de grace.

    Endymion Benjamin Disraeli
  • Here was an instrument with which surely the coup de grace could be given to the dying State.

    The Great Boer War Arthur Conan Doyle
  • But "Jane Eyre" gave her, for the moment, the coup de grace.

  • The way for the coup de grace had to be cleared by strategy and dissimulation.

    Homestead Arthur G. Burgoyne
  • How was I going to secure my victim before giving the coup de grace?

    Jethou E. R. Suffling
  • So you admit that you administered his coup de grace to the late lamented Sergeant Simpkins?

    The Crime Doctor Ernest William Hornung
  • The exposure was a coup de grace to the system of Mr. Perkins.

  • Nearby, a relative or close friend stood with a sharp sword, to administer the coup de grace by decapitation.

    Anything You Can Do Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Give him the coup de grace at once, for his own sake as well as for ours.

    Little Rivers Henry van Dyke
British Dictionary definitions for coup de grace

coup de grâce

/ku də ɡrɑs/
noun (pl) coups de grâce (ku də ɡrɑs)
a mortal or finishing blow, esp one delivered as an act of mercy to a sufferer
a final or decisive stroke
Word Origin
literally: blow of mercy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coup de grace

1690s, from French coup de grâce, literally "stroke of grace;" the merciful death-blow that ends another's suffering (see coup).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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coup de grace in Culture
coup de grâce [(kooh duh grahs)]

The final blow: “He had been getting deeper and deeper in debt; the fates delivered the coup de grâce when he died.” The phrase is French for “stroke of mercy.” It originally referred to the merciful stroke that put a fatally wounded person out of his misery or to the shot delivered to the head of a prisoner after he had faced a firing squad.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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