[bangk-ruhpt, -ruhpt]


Law. a person who upon his or her own petition or that of his or her creditors is adjudged insolvent by a court and whose property is administered for and divided among his or her creditors under a bankruptcy law.
any insolvent debtor; a person unable to satisfy any just claims made upon him or her.
a person who is lacking in a particular thing or quality: a moral bankrupt.


verb (used with object)

to make bankrupt: His embezzlement bankrupted the company.

Origin of bankrupt

1525–35; < Medieval Latin banca rupta bank broken; replacing adaptations of Italian banca rota and French banqueroute in same sense
Related formspseu·do·bank·rupt, adjectivequa·si-bank·rupt, adjective

Synonyms for bankrupt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bankrupt

Contemporary Examples of bankrupt

Historical Examples of bankrupt

  • You may be punctual in that to half a second on the clock, and yet be Bankrupt.

  • It was a laugh—a faint, broken, bankrupt echo of her old happy laughter.

    The Scapegoat

    Hall Caine

  • The bankrupt garret had dropped a cake of its rotten plaster.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • "I'm not bankrupt, either," said old Uthoug, fixing his red eyes on her face.

    The Great Hunger

    Johan Bojer

  • When you tell me you cease to endorse my pledges, I feel I am a bankrupt in your esteem.'

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

British Dictionary definitions for bankrupt



a person adjudged insolvent by a court, his or her property being transferred to a trustee and administered for the benefit of his creditors
any person unable to discharge all his or her debts
a person whose resources in a certain field are exhausted or nonexistenta spiritual bankrupt


adjudged insolvent
financially ruined
depleted in resources or having completely failedspiritually bankrupt
(foll by of) British lackingbankrupt of intelligence


(tr) to make bankrupt

Word Origin for bankrupt

C16: from Old French banqueroute, from Old Italian bancarotta, from banca bank 1 + rotta broken, from Latin ruptus, from rumpere to break
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

Word Origin and History for bankrupt

1560s, from Italian banca rotta, literally "a broken bench," from banca "moneylender's shop," literally "bench" (see bank (n.1)) + rotta "broken, defeated, interrupted" from (and remodeled on) Latin rupta, fem. past participle of rumpere "to break" (see rupture (n.)). "[S]o called from the habit of breaking the bench of bankrupts" [Klein]. Earlier in English as a noun, "bankrupt person" (1530s).


1550s, from bankrupt (adj.). Related: Bankrupted; bankrupting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper