Definition of bankrupt in US English:



  • 1(of a person or organization) declared in law unable to pay outstanding debts.

    ‘his father went bankrupt and the family had to sell their home’
    ‘the company was declared bankrupt’
    • ‘With the latest round of bankrupt airlines, the agency may not be so lucky.’
    • ‘The judge held that certainly by the end of 1992, when applicants knew that their son was bankrupt, that their position was not protected and that the promissory note was worthless.’
    • ‘It said he had met the applicant in 1994 when he was bankrupt and could only operate through a family business with his mother as sole director and himself as consultant.’
    • ‘He made his initial fortune in the 1990s by taking over and reselling bankrupt companies.’
    • ‘Say, if a lawyer is bankrupt, that can be a reason for striking off.’
    • ‘He is an officer and director of the bankrupt company which is noted as plaintiff in this action.’
    • ‘The bankrupt corporations and banks will be wiped out and their debts repaid by taxpayers.’
    • ‘Suing a bankrupt company simply puts the state at the end of a very long and largely empty-handed line of creditors - and that's if it wins.’
    • ‘The first provision would permit the trusts created by the bankrupt companies to accrue interest free of tax.’
    • ‘Goldman Sachs is buying a bankrupt owner of 30 courses.’
    • ‘The trustee's job is to liquidate bankrupt companies to repay bondholders.’
    • ‘In that case a chattel mortgage was given to the bank by two principals of the bankrupt corporation.’
    • ‘Creditor committees and managers of bankrupt companies often are too optimistic.’
    • ‘Mr MacFarlane, there is a mention in the book at page 41 where you say that you are bankrupt.’
    • ‘Mr Croxford accepts that it is too late to release funds from the freezing orders for the purposes of representation of Mr Moussavi because he is now bankrupt.’
    • ‘They included unemployed architects and managers as much as bankrupt shopkeepers or workers laid off.’
    • ‘Lawyers are aggressively suing on behalf of bankrupt companies to recoup money paid to creditors’
    • ‘Within ten years, all the defendants were going bankrupt, and it seemed that many sick workers would therefore get nothing or close to nothing.’
    • ‘Some big companies have started acting like vultures by bidding for bankrupt rivals at auction, accelerating consolidation.’
    • ‘Cantillon quickly built up a successful banking business and paid off the debts of his bankrupt uncle despite the very chaotic financial conditions in France.’
    insolvent, bankrupted
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    1. 1.1 Impoverished or depleted.
      ‘a bankrupt country with no natural resources’
      • ‘Britain, bankrupt and exhausted by the war, lost the will to hold what it had.’
  • 2Completely lacking in a particular quality or value.

    ‘their cause is morally bankrupt’
    • ‘In truth, he was politically bankrupt after 2000, and he is not all that much stronger today.’
    • ‘There's virtue to such curiosity and research, but it could also leave an exhausted writer holding an emotionally bankrupt manuscript in calloused hands.’
    • ‘How can a spiritually and morally bankrupt person such as me find victory during my darkest, most hopeless hour?’
    • ‘When you make up an entirely specious religion in a juvenile attempt to shelter your fashion choices behind the first amendment, what sort of morally bankrupt person are you?’
    • ‘By all indications, she just wanted to see a real, hard-hearted, spiritually bankrupt person in the flesh, and also wanted to score a new convert for the big guy in the sky.’
    • ‘A nation that harasses, arrests and shoots emergency service workers is morally bankrupt and has no intention of pursuing a peaceful settlement.’
    • ‘He was a wealthy lawyer from Allenâs law firm, but he was completely bankrupt in backbone.’
    • ‘Because when we're emotionally bankrupt by virtue of having burned ourselves out, then we have nothing to give.’
    completely lacking in, without, bereft of, exhausted of, devoid of, empty of, depleted of, destitute of, vacant of, bare of, denuded of, deprived of
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  • A person judged by a court to be insolvent, whose property is taken and disposed of for the benefit of creditors.

    • ‘Last year only 900 out of 26,500 bankrupts listed the student loan company as a creditor.’
    • ‘Currently, bankrupts aren't usually discharged for three years but from next April, this will be cut to a maximum of a year.’
    • ‘It was never intended that the bankrupt would acquire any beneficial interest in the Freehold Reversion and I do not believe that he did so.’
    • ‘The law permits bankrupts to sue for libel and keep any money awarded from such suits.’
    • ‘The purpose of the limitation on applications by undischarged bankrupts is clear.’
    • ‘But the law accepted that business failure was understandable rather than culpable, and offered generous terms to bankrupts to pay off part of their debts before returning as active risk-takers.’
    • ‘This would affect a lot of people because many bankrupts, shall we say, are not entirely pure as the driven snow.’
    • ‘There are two kinds of bankrupts: those who know it, and those who haven't found out yet.’
    • ‘The efforts of the Trustee and the Inspectors must be spent for the benefit of the creditors only as the interest of those creditors relate to the property, dealings and affairs of the bankrupt.’
    • ‘Can the Commonwealth detain bankrupts for the purpose of examining them, on the basis that some bankrupts are likely to flee before examination?’
    • ‘But there will be tough new measures for the minority of bankrupts who take advantage of their creditors.’
    • ‘From next April it'll be one year at most (except for previous bankrupts or those involved in criminal proceedings).’
    • ‘It's the highest number of bankrupts for a three-month period since 1993.’
    • ‘A system of income payment agreements aims to make it easier for bankrupts to make payments to creditors and bankruptcy restriction orders cover a variety of conduct.’
    • ‘But we will provide more effective protection against the small minority of bankrupts who abuse their creditors and the public.’
    • ‘The reason for the foregoing restraint on bankrupts ' pursuing claims in relation to their property which they owned before a sequestration order is well explained in the cases.’
    • ‘He is entitled to go behind such forms to get at the truth, and the estoppel to which the bankrupt may have subjected himself will not prevail against him.’
    • ‘We do offer business current accounts, without borrowing to all customers (apart from undischarged bankrupts and where there is evidence of deliberate fraud) irrespective of their credit standing.’
    • ‘Two-thirds of recent bankrupts have gone down this route whereas, in the past, most people were forced into bankruptcy by their creditors.’
    • ‘Irate creditors regularly secured the imprisonment of bankrupts, including the ‘honest’ ones who simply had suffered commercial reverses.’
    insolvent, bankrupt person
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[with object]
  • Reduce (a person or organization) to bankruptcy.

    ‘the strike nearly bankrupted the union’
    • ‘It would have ended up bankrupting us because we would not be able to afford it.’
    • ‘The book also supplied Twain with enough money to invest in the printing-machine venture that eventually bankrupted him.’
    • ‘If he does defend himself, the state may draw out legal proceedings, bankrupting Joe Average into surrender.’
    • ‘He was estimated to have won £100,000 in his career but his love of a flutter on greyhounds bankrupted him.’
    • ‘Even if she takes $50, she'll be bankrupting me.’
    • ‘The cost of copying the staggering amount of materials for my class would have bankrupted her.’
    • ‘However, the house nearly bankrupted him and it was bought in 1707 by the Dalrymple family, who dominated Scottish law in the 18th century.’
    • ‘Legal costs for the case had bankrupted the family and Bilal had travelled to the West, through Iran and Turkey, to earn some money.’
    • ‘Cases in which children have bankrupted their parents through their extravagance abroad can easily be found.’
    • ‘‘They did shut the Wysick before and it nearly bankrupted him,’ he said.’
    • ‘It almost bankrupted me, and the customers didn't like it.’
    • ‘His determination to win is so intense that he disregards not only the interests of his clients, but also those of his law partners - whom he alienates and bankrupts.’
    • ‘He is a ‘never-nice’ guy - he bankrupted his own father, and killed a bunch of people for personal gain.’
    • ‘With just four patrons a day - a good day - Bonaparte's is three months away from bankrupting its owner.’
    • ‘The punitive sum would have bankrupted the reporters.’
    • ‘They bought the bus, practically bankrupting the group's leader, painted it purple… then ditched the plan.’
    • ‘The flip side to that, however, is that it also nearly bankrupted us in the process.’
    • ‘My brother had radical surgery and a long course of treatment some years back that would have bankrupted a lord.’
    • ‘I wasn't heckled, I wasn't jeered, but my wife and I did have to hustle out of there quickly so we could stop the babysitter's clock from bankrupting us.’
    • ‘Thank God for digital cameras, or the film processing alone would've bankrupted us.’
    ruin, make bankrupt, cause to go bankrupt, make insolvent, impoverish, reduce to destitution, reduce to penury, bring to ruin, bring someone to their knees, wipe out, break, cripple
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Mid 16th century: from Italian banca rotta ‘broken bench’, from banca (see bank) and rompere ‘to break’. The change in the ending was due to association with Latin rupt- ‘broken’.