coup(redirected from coups)
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To detail one's successes or achievements in battle, as of Native American tribes. Tonight, we will gather to count coup.
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.
A sudden, illegitimate seizure of power from an existing government, usually through violent means. The phrase is French for "blow of state," and it is often shortened to simply "coup." The militia group launched a coordinated coup d'état, seizing the country's capital and killing or capturing all of its top political officials.
See also: coup
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Among certain Native American peoples, to ceremoniously recount one's exploits in battle.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer