Coup d’État

Un coup d'État
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Revolutionary French Expression

Meaning coup d’état, overthrow, takeover
Literally blow of state
Register normal
Pronunciation French sound files [koo day tah]
IPA   [ku de ta]

Usage notes: The French expression un coup d’État refers to a sudden and generally violent attempt by a small group of people to illegally take over a government.

Par exemple…

J’étais en Turquie lors du coup d’État de 2016.   I was in Turkey during the 2016 coup d’état.
C’est le troisième coup d’État dans ce pays depuis dix ans.   It’s the third coup d’état in this country in ten years.

Related expressions

  • un coup d’État manqué – aborted coup (d’état)
  • une tentative de coup d’État – attempted coup (d’état)
  • une tentative avortée de coup d’État – aborted coup (d’état)

 En anglais

In English, the final word is not capitalized, and may or may not have an accent: "a coup d’état" or "a coup d’etat." In addition, it’s often cut down to simply “a coup, an attempted coup.” This can’t happen in French because un coup has many meanings, so this shortening would be ambiguous and confusing.

Note that in English, "a coup" can also refer to a corporate takeover (un rachat) or an achievement (un beau coup).

 Related lessons

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Un coup d'État

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