- a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force.
Origin of coup d'état
SynonymsSee more synonyms for coup d'état on Thesaurus.com
- a sudden violent or illegal seizure of government
Word Origin and History for coup d'état
1640s, from French coup d'étate, literally "stroke of the state" (see coup). Technically any sudden, decisive political act but popularly restricted to the overthrow of a government.
A quick and decisive seizure of governmental power by a strong military or political group. In contrast to a revolution, a coup d'état, or coup, does not involve a mass uprising. Rather, in the typical coup, a small group of politicians or generals arrests the incumbent leaders, seizes the national radio and television services, and proclaims itself in power. Coup d'état is French for “stroke of the state” or “blow to the government.”