coup de grâce
noun, plural coups de grâce [kooduh -grahs]. /kudə ˈgrɑs/. French.
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Origin of coup de grâce
Words nearby coup de grâce
What does coup de grâce mean?
Coup de grâce comes from French and literally means “stroke of mercy,” in which stroke refers to a physical blow, especially from a weapon. It can be used literally (and was formerly used in reference to executions). But it’s more often used figuratively to refer to an action that decisively brings something to an end, such as in sports when a team or player gets far enough ahead in scoring that the opponent can’t possibly come back to win.
Coup de grâce is pronounced [ kooduh grahs ]. The proper plural form is coups de grâce.
Example: That touchdown is certainly the coup de grâce that will knock the defending champions out of these playoffs.
Where does coup de grâce come from?
The first records of the use of coup de grâce in English come from right around 1700. It’s borrowed directly from French, in which grâce means “mercy” and coup means “blow.” The word coup also appears in other English terms borrowed from French, including coup d’état, which literally means “stroke of state” and refers to a swift government takeover.
In its literal sense, coup de grâce quite gruesomely refers to an action taken to kill a person who is on the brink of death, such as someone who has been shot by a firing squad but is not yet dead. Such a blow was labeled merciful because it was done to end the person’s suffering.
Today, the term is often used figuratively for situations in which someone is “put out of their misery” with a final strike. It’s especially used in sports when an opponent is “finished off.” But it can be used in many other situations. The act of firing an employee might be called the coup de grâce if it has come after a long period of rules violations or other unprofessional behavior. The term is also often used in the context of politics. In a debate, when one debater has already clearly outdone the other, a final, decisive argument or statement could be called the coup de grâce.
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What are some other forms related to coup de grâce?
- coups de grâce (plural)
What are some synonyms for coup de grâce?
What are some words that share a root or word element with coup de grâce?
What are some words that often get used in discussing coup de grâce?
How is coup de grâce used in real life?
Coup de grâce is most often used in a figurative way to describe the final action that definitively settles or ends something once and for all.
Had a nightmare I was at a guy’s place but I discovered he was a rich killer trying to make it serial and I had to fight him. Luckily I was stronger but I kept worrying about killing him so I wouldn’t deliver the coup de grace and he kept reviving.
— Rev. Poppy Hair-Raise (@poppy_haze) April 24, 2019
To those cheerfully spreading rumours about Labour MPs splitting to back the Prime Minister's deal for ulterior motives, they are talking total rubbish. The Prime Minister's deal is heading for another big defeat today, and it'll be Labour MPs that will deliver the coup de grace.
— Paul Sweeney (@PaulJSweeney) March 29, 2019
And the coup de grace of my academic career was the supermegasonic senioritis of 2020.
— _just_joy (@joyfuljoy93) May 5, 2020
Try using coup de grâce!
Is coup de grâce used correctly in the following sentence?
According to new reports, there has been a coup de grâce in the capital resulting in a military takeover of the government.
Example sentences from the Web for coup de grâce
They were, however, completely powerless, and a double-barrelled gun gave each the "coup-de-grace" by a ball in the forehead.The Rifle and The Hound in Ceylon|Samuel White Baker
In the hands of a master of the art it becomes an incisive weapon, like the blade with which the matador gives his coup-de-grace.The History of the Nineteenth Century in Caricature|Arthur Bartlett Maurice
We may have to administer the "coup-de-grace" with our hand-bayonets."Over There" with the Australians|R. Hugh Knyvett
You cannot be killed accidentally; Odal must perform the coup-de-grace himself.The Dueling Machine|Benjamin William Bova
But when 112he wished to give the coup-de-grace, in vain he sought the knight, he neither saw nor heard.Jaufry the Knight and the Fair Brunissende|Mary Lafon
British Dictionary definitions for coup de grâce
noun plural coups de grâce (ku də ɡrɑs)
Word Origin for coup de grâce
Cultural definitions for coup de grâce
The final blow: “He had been getting deeper and deeper in debt; the fates delivered the coup de grâce when he died.” The phrase is French for “stroke of mercy.” It originally referred to the merciful stroke that put a fatally wounded person out of his misery or to the shot delivered to the head of a prisoner after he had faced a firing squad.