coup d'état

[ koo dey-tah; French koo dey-ta ]
/ ˌku deɪˈtɑ; French ku deɪˈta /

noun, plural coups d'é·tat [koo dey-tahz; French koo dey-ta] /ˌku deɪˈtɑz; French ku deɪˈta/.

a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one resulting in a change of government illegally or by force.

Origin of coup d'état

1640–50; < French: literally, stroke concerning the state Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for coup d'état

coup d'état

/ (ˈkuː deɪˈtɑː, French ku deta) /

noun plural coups d'état (ˈkuːz deɪˈtɑː, French ku deta)

a sudden violent or illegal seizure of government

Word Origin for coup d'état

French, literally: stroke of state
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 coup d'état

coup d'etat


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for coup d'état

coup d'état

[ (kooh day-tah) ]

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.”

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.