coup de grâce

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coup de grâce

An action or event that brings a swift end to suffering or a worsening situation. The phrase is French for "blow of mercy." The samurai delivered a merciful coup de grâce to his mortally wounded enemy. The large class action lawsuit was the coup de grâce that caused the failing company to finally go out of business.
See also: coup, DE, grace
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

coup de grâce

Finishing stroke. The phrase is French for “blow of mercy,” a death blow administered to end a wounded person’s suffering. It probably originated in dueling or other sword fighting and had been adopted into English by about 1700 and was already being used figuratively for the finishing stroke for any kind of enterprise. For example, “He carefully placed the figures of bride and groom on top of the cake, the coup de grâce for an artistic creation.”
See also: coup, DE, grace
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Not only did it strengthen her hand with wobbly NATO allies, but it also helped her isolate Milosevic at home and set the stage for the coup de grace flint followed the Sept.
There certainly has been no "coup de grace" to the idea of an international community, despite the policies of the American neoconservatives.
Anyway, soon as the delivery was made, Timothy touche'd, Jerry got the Coup de Grace -- not graceful, but "de grace," anyway -- and the Greer PD got their first case of Medieval Mayhem since the late 1700s.
This is the salesperson's coup de grace, reaching deep into the parental psyche to tap the wellspring of ever-present residual guilt over not taking the kids to Disney World enough, or to the therapist or dermatologist enough; for never spending enough quality time with them, or not buying them a pony or a new car or private schools.
In fact, this will have been the coup de grace administered by a professional Roman legionary, the water coming either from lung or bladder.
In an economy starved of consumption spending, that promise was the coup de grace.
The higher surface sea temperatures are attributed to a new El Nino, although it is widely believed that global warming is the key underlying factor and the El Nino event the final coup de grace.
It's hard not to feel some sympathy as he compares the dying Bismarck to a bull mortally wounded in a bullfight, awaiting the coup de grace. While officers and seamen provide for a large cast of characters here, it's the mighty warships that are the real stars.
The coup de grace comes about when an unlabelled videotape arrives from San Francisco, containing footage of a boy tied up and lying unconscious on the ground.
The South African Kaplan, long delayed in making this politicized ghoul fest, carefully sets out the pieces of pic, but doesn't come up with the memorable coup de grace that his premise demands.
At that point in the heated point/counterpoint, when there's fire in the hole and a coup de grace is needed to put their weak, terminally flawed arguments Out of their misery, we hit 'em right between the eyes.
"Chinese seagrass carpeting runs through the main living areas, accentuating the eclectic mix of rattan and mahogany furniture upholstered in tropical delights with names like 'Pomegranate Tree' and 'Ali-Gator.' The coup de grace is the floor in the master bath; we used interlocking pebbles in natural tones, even in the shower area."
The former stand-up comedian and computer programmer has scored another coup de grace. All of his novels center on the sometimes caustic and disharmonious bond that exists between African American men and women.
A couple of weeks ago Compaq's Windows NT on Alpha fantasy was abandoned in a similar coup de grace. Compaq says it will preview some new Alpha chips and a technology roadmap at Microprocessor Design Forum.
But the coup de grace was a private letter from the World Bank--leaked to the local media--that was critical of the project.