coup de main or coups de main
French expression which literally means "stroke of the hand"; coup
stroke , de of , main hand. In English it means a surprise
action, usually to take the initiative away from an enemy or opponent.
Especially used as a military term, but not exclusively so. In Oxford English
Dictonary since 1758.
Example: "In a coup de main, DMan's account was frozen and his most
aggressive nodes deleted."
This is an entry in the mini series about French idioms in the English