coup d'etat

If you hear about a foreign government's violent overthrow on the news, you can describe it as a coup d'etat.

The noun coup d'etat is useful for talking about revolutionary uprisings or military takeovers that result in a country's government changing hands very suddenly. The term is often shortened to just coup, and it has been used in English since the late 1700s. Coup d'etat means "stroke of the state," or "strike against the state," and since it's French, it's pronounced "coo day tah."

Definitions of coup d'etat

n a sudden and decisive change of government illegally or by force

coup, putsch, takeover
October Revolution
the coup d'etat by the Bolsheviks under Lenin in November 1917 that led to a period of civil war which ended in victory for the Bolsheviks in 1922
a sudden and decisive overthrow of a government that gained power by a coup d'etat
Type of:
group action
action taken by a group of people

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