Definition of coup de théâtre in US English:

coup de théâtre

nounPlural coups de théâtre

  • A sensational or dramatically sudden action or turn of events, especially in a play.

    • ‘This coup de théâtre was the more remarkable in that it was the pope's own plan that Wolsey snatched from under his nose.’
    • ‘There is a final coup de théâtre that strikes me as needlessly flashy.’
    • ‘Even in a show as slick as this, the effect is a coup de théâtre.’
    • ‘In the nature of things, it is impossible to rule out such coups de théâtre, but as things stand at the moment, it looks as if Washington is not being unrealistic in discounting such an eventuality.’
    • ‘It really is a coup de théâtre of immense value given the current humid climate of film production.’
    • ‘His direction starts with some breathtaking coups de théâtre, and further bright touches periodically pop up in alternation with less felicitous ones.’
    • ‘Here, however, is Poulenc's greatest coup de théâtre.’
    • ‘But Fancioulle's giving of life to a timeless work of art actually prepares the eventual entrance of death onto the stage in a dramatic coup de théâtre.’
    • ‘There were some stirring coups de théâtre, as when the witches were heard from under the banqueting table, which they crashingly overturned as they emerged.’
    • ‘Dramatically, visually and ideologically, it was a triumph, a daring coup de théâtre that implicitly relocated the largely white audience within the on-stage struggle of the dignified West Indians.’
    • ‘There are a few reverberant coups de théâtre, but we get the point, such as it is, quickly, and are kept awake only by the hope of an ending.’
    • ‘Im 1972, US president Richard Nixon staged one of the most celebrated coups de théâtre in the history of politics when he stepped aboard Air Force One and struck out for China.’
    • ‘He's very matter-of-fact, but occasionally allows himself a wry chuckle at some particularly outré coup de théâtre.’
    • ‘Opening the shutters of our room reveals, in a real coup de théâtre, Red Square.’
    • ‘Dorian's quick-thinking ruse is plausible, and makes an effective coup de théâtre.’


French, literally ‘blow of theater’.


coup de théâtre

/ˌko͞o də tāˈät(rə)//ˌku də teɪˈɑt(rə)/