Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A brilliantly executed stratagem; a triumph.
  • n. A coup d'état.
  • n. A sudden appropriation of leadership or power; a takeover: a boardroom coup.
  • n. Among certain Native American peoples, a feat of bravery performed in battle, especially the touching of an enemy's body without causing injury.
  • idiom count coup Among certain Native American peoples, to ceremoniously recount one's exploits in battle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A quick, brilliant, and highly successful act; a triumph.
  • n. A coup d'état.
  • n. By extension, a takeover of one group by another.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sudden stroke delivered with promptness and force; -- used also in various ways to convey the idea of an unexpected, clever, and successful tactic or stratagem.
  • n. A single roll of the wheel at roulette, or a deal at rouge et noir.
  • n. Among some tribes of North American Indians especially of the Great Plains, the act of striking or touching an enemy in warfare with the hand or at close quarters, as with a short stick, in such a manner as by custom to entitle the doer to count the deed an act of bravery; hence, any of various other deeds recognized by custom as acts of bravery or honor.
  • intransitive v. To make a coup.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut; slash: in the extracts, with reference to shoes ornamentally slashed.
  • To upset; overturn; tilt over; turn upside down; dump: as, to coup the cart.
  • To die.
  • To give or exchange blows; fight.
  • To upset; be overturned; fall or tumble over.
  • To swoop.
  • To barter; buy and sell, as horses or cattle.
  • n. A blow; a stroke.
  • n. A trick; a snare.
  • n. The act of upsetting or overturning, or state of being overturned; the act of dumping.
  • n. A tumble; a fall.
  • n. A fault in a seam of coal.
  • n. A cart-load.
  • n. An obsolete or dialectal (Scotch) form of cup.
  • n. A stroke or blow, especially a sudden stroke, implying promptness and force: a French word used in English in various French phrases, or singly, with conscious reference to its French use.
  • n. Specifically, with reference to the north western tribes of the Indians of North America, a stroke that captures the weapon or horse of an enemy; hence, victory over an enemy.
  • n. A coup d'état; a stroke of policy. See below.
  • n. Specifically— Milit., that talent for rapid observation and generalization by which an officer is enabled by a glance to estimate the advantages and disadvantages of a field of battle for attack and defense, and thus to post his troops without delay so as to make the most of it.
  • n. A stroke; a brilliant play; in banking games the decision of all the bets by one event.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a brilliant and notable success
  • n. a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force

Etymologies

French, stroke, from Old French colp, from Late Latin colpus, from Latin colaphus, from Greek kolaphos.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Commenting on the activities of PKI chairman Aidit in Central Java immediately after the coup, it notes that he warned subordinates: at all costs not to allow the PKI to be provoked into violent action… he told the people who assembled to hear him that there must be no demonstration of support for the coup….

    What Happened in Indonesia?

  • Thanks for the lecture on the use of the term coup d'état and it's synonym "take-over".

    Cincinnati Herald: Edith Thrower Is NAACP Prez

  • He told supporters at a rally in the capital, Sana'a, his government had turned down what he called a "coup" against his country's constitution and democracy.

    Demonstrators, Security Forces Clash in Yemen

  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh told supporters his government had rejected what he called a "coup" against his country's constitution and democracy.

    Yemen's President Rejects Resignation Plan; Protests Continue

  • Ramey Wine Cellars A NUANCED VISION | Hyde Vineyards in Napa, source of a great Ramey Chardonnay David Ramey was driving on a dusty road through the land of tequila and mezcal when he had what he describes as his "coup de foudre"—otherwise known as his road-to-Mexicali moment—and realized, improbably, that he wanted to make wine.

    Wines That Favor Balance Over Power

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas orders counterblows against what he calls a coup attempt.

    Year-End Timeline – Second Quarter

  • Opposition parties said they were continuing plans to hold a peaceful march in Lome Saturday to protest what they called a coup d'etat.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • BLITZER: Do you agree or disagree with Congressman Charlie Rangel, who earlier today said: By this policy over the last few days, in effectively telling Aristide to leave, the U.S. was participating in what he called a coup d'etat against an elected, democratic official in Haiti?

    CNN Transcript Feb 29, 2004

  • Others turned up their forked ends, which we call coup de ladle.

    The Boyne Water

  • At about the same time Jefferson received what he called his coup de grace.

    Jefferson and His Colleagues; a chronicle of the Virginia dynasty

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  • Scots - empty by upturning. Pronounced cowp.

    December 6, 2007