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coup de main

[kooduh man]
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noun, plural coups de main [kooduh man] /kudə ˈmɛ̃/. French.
  1. a surprise attack; a sudden development.

Origin of coup de main

literally, blow from the hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for coup de main

Historical Examples

  • Such a place should never be exposed to the coup-de-main of an enemy.

    Elements of Military Art and Science

    Henry Wager Halleck

  • The narrative of this coup-de-main may be read with advantage in Corio, p. 258.

  • One of their priests is said to have planned and executed this coup-de-main.

  • William had meanwhile left the execution of the coup-de-main against Amsterdam to his cousin William Frederick.

    History of Holland

    George Edmundson

  • A coup-de-main would have been easy, and some rich bourgeois wanted to try it.


British Dictionary definitions for coup de main

coup de main

noun plural coups de main (ku də mɛ̃)
  1. mainly military an attack that achieves complete surprise

Word Origin

literally: blow with the hand
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