Definition of coup in English:



  • 1A sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.

    ‘he was overthrown in an army coup’
    • ‘What drives the story are the aftershocks of this failed coup.’
    • ‘In November he precipitated a second coup d'état.’
    • ‘These months following October's bloodless coup have been eventful indeed.’
    • ‘I think this coup would look more like the failed 1963 effort than like 1968, and has the potential to roil the country and the region for decades.’
    • ‘There's a rumor that there's been some kind of coup or civil war there.’
    • ‘It doesn't necessarily happen all at once, or as the result of a traditional military coup d' état.’
    • ‘They claimed she was making strange demands of the budget, she claimed it was a coup d'état by radical prohibitionists who had infiltrated the organization.’
    • ‘Nigeria's history is tainted with the blood of its citizens in everything from civil strife to military coups to ethnic skirmishes among the country's 200-or-so tribes.’
    • ‘This was the coup d'état of his grandfather Louis XV and chancellor Maupeou against the parlements.’
    • ‘It is perhaps simplest to speak of a creeping military coup.’
    • ‘There are reports coming out of that region of a possible military coup.’
    • ‘This development in turn would almost certainly provoke another military coup to prevent it from happening.’
    • ‘‘The military coup is today almost exclusively an African phenomenon’, he said.’
    • ‘Earlier this year more than 70 suspected mercenaries were arrested for their alleged plan to help carry out that coup.’
    • ‘From the moment he stood on a tank in August 1991 to face down an attempted Communist coup, Yeltsin was championed by the West as Russia's great hope.’
    • ‘Independence came in 1957, and nine years later came the first military coup.’
    • ‘If there was some sort of coup, when did it take place?’
    • ‘In the last year, three general strikes called to protest against the president, protests in the streets, people killed, and one attempted coup.’
    • ‘The country's all-powerful military, which has seized power in three coups since 1960, sees staunch secularism as a pillar of the state.’
    • ‘A year ago, they came close to that goal when a general strike they organized became the pretext for a brief military coup.’
    seizure of power, overthrow, takeover, ousting, deposition, regime change
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  • 2An instance of successfully achieving something difficult.

    ‘it was a major coup to get such a prestigious contract’
    • ‘And the first major media entity to cover it in depth will score a major coup.’
    • ‘The merger itself was a coup of sorts.’
    • ‘The actor has worked a lot recently, but he counts this role of playing his bodybuilding idol among his best-ever casting coups.’
    • ‘For some it was a massive publicity coup for the county town to host such a prestigious event.’
    • ‘They pulled off a coup and the achievement should not be under-rated.’
    • ‘A young man who scored a major coup by being elected to both local authorities having had difficulties in getting nominated.’
    • ‘His appointment by the school management is regarded as a major coup in the context of securing the services of a high profile sporting figure.’
    • ‘Make no mistake: they have pulled off a major coup and reconfirmed their role as the mainstay of the nation's broadcasting.’
    • ‘And they comforted themselves with the knowledge that if the court had not intervened, they would have scored a major coup.’
    • ‘There was a group of investors in this coup, and like all investors, what they hope to do is make a great deal of money out of their investment.’
    • ‘His selection as President by the Supreme Court in 2000 was a presidential and judicial coup.’
    • ‘Acknowledging his lack of clothing experience, he has concentrated on getting the stores right while scoring two major coups in recruiting experts to oversee the fashion.’
    • ‘Capturing him was a major coup for the Russians.’
    • ‘If he's cleared, it'll be a massive publicity coup for him.’
    • ‘If the deal is successful, it would be a major coup for the galleries, putting its collection of modern art on a par with London's Tate Modern.’
    • ‘I mean it's an extraordinary journalistic coup.’
    • ‘Two of the greatest Second World War intelligence coups were achieved by the Russians.’
    • ‘This may prove to have been the biggest marketing coup of all.’
    • ‘That's really the lesson of this latest intelligence coup.’
    • ‘The company, which is developing medical treatments for a number of diseases, announced that it planned to expand its Irish facility in a major coup for Cork.’
    success, triumph, feat, successful manoeuvre, stunt, accomplishment, achievement, attainment, stroke, master stroke, stroke of genius
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    1. 2.1 An unusual or unexpected but successful tactic in card play.
  • 3Billiards
    A direct pocketing of the cue ball, which is a foul stroke.

  • 4historical (among North American Indians) an act of touching an enemy, as a deed of bravery, or an act of first touching an item of the enemy's in order to claim it.


Late 18th century: from French, from medieval Latin colpus ‘blow’ (see cope).