A takeover of a government. It's usually associated with guns and tanks - a military coup. But the word can be used to describe bloodless coups - again the troops may be involved, with the threat of blood being sufficient to force a change in rule. There can be bloodless sans military, with the culprit being the CIA, the Trilateral Commission, the Cracking Horde sh0kk tr00pz of the Geek Revolution, or the space aliens who've taken control of our minds. Maman! Me need hug.

French for a "hit," frequently appended by specifiers like "de poing" (specifying a punch), "de pied" (specifying a kick), or "d'etat" (specifying the overthrow of the government.

Coup (kOO), n. [F., fr.L. colaphus a cuff, Gr.]

A sudden stroke; an unexpected device or stratagem; -- a term used in various ways to convey the idea of promptness and force.

Coup de grace [F.], the stroke of mercy with which an executioner ends by death the sufferings of the condemned; hence, a decisive, finishing stroke. --
Coup de main [F.] (Mil.), a sudden and unexpected movement or attack. --
Coup de soleil [F.] (Med.), a sunstroke. See Sunstroke. --
Coup d'état [F.] (Politics), a sudden, decisive exercise of power whereby the existing government is subverted without the consent of the people; an unexpected measure of state, more or less violent; a stroke of policy. --
Coup d'œil (kOO` dəl"). [F.]

(a) A single view; a rapid glance of the eye; a comprehensive view of a scene; as much as can be seen at one view.
(b) The general effect of a picture.
(c) (Mil.) The faculty or the act of comprehending at a glance the weakness or strength of a military position, of a certain arrangement of troops, the most advantageous position for a battlefield, etc.

 

© Webster 1913


Coup (kOO), n.

1.

A single roll of the wheel at roulette, or a deal at rouge et noir. [Cant]

2.

Among some tribes of North American Indians, 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.

While the coup was primarily, and usually, a blow with something held in the hand, other acts in warfare which involved great danger to him who performed them were also reckoned coups by some tribes.
G. B. Grinnell.

Among the Blackfeet the capture of a shield, bow, gun, war bonnet, war shirt, or medicine pipe was deemed a coup.
G. B. Grinnell.

 

© Webster 1913


Coup. v. i.

To make a coup.

Woe to the Sioux if the Northern Cheyennes get a chance to coup !
F. Remington.

 

© Webster 1913

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