[bangk-ruhpt-see, -ruh p-see]

noun, plural bank·rupt·cies.

the state of being or becoming bankrupt.
utter ruin, failure, depletion, or the like.

Origin of bankruptcy

First recorded in 1690–1700; bankrupt + -cy
Related formspre·bank·rupt·cy, noun, plural pre·bank·rupt·cies. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bankruptcy

Contemporary Examples of bankruptcy

Historical Examples of bankruptcy

  • Bankruptcy was not the only art by which Badman piled up his fortune.


    James Anthony Froude

  • “The era of religious influence closes in bankruptcy,” he informs us.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • Her business was going to wreck, and bankruptcy seemed impending.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • It is only too true that your father stood on the verge of bankruptcy.

    The Crevice

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

  • The bankruptcy proceedings had exhausted all the laughter there was in it.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for bankruptcy


noun plural -cies

the state, condition, or quality of being or becoming bankrupt
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 bankruptcy

1700, from bankrupt, "probably on the analogy of insolvency, but with -t erroneously retained in spelling, instead of being merged in the suffix ...." [OED]. Figurative use from 1761.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bankruptcy in Culture


Legally declared insolvency, or inability to pay creditors.


If an individual or a corporation declares bankruptcy, a court will appoint an official to make an inventory of the individual's or corporation's assets and to establish a schedule by which creditors can be partially repaid what is owed them.


An individual who is lacking a specific resource or quality is sometimes said to be bankrupt, as in intellectually bankrupt or morally bankrupt.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.