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From Italian banca rotta, which refers to an out-of-business bank, having its bench physically broken. When a moneylender in Northern Italy became insolvent, they would break the bench they worked from to signify that they were no longer in business. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbæŋ.kɹəpt/, /ˈbæŋ.kɹʌpt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbæŋk.ɹəpt/, /ˈbæŋk.ɹʌpt/
  • (file)


bankrupt (comparative more bankrupt, superlative most bankrupt)

  1. (finance) In a condition of bankruptcy; unable to pay one's debts.
    a bankrupt merchant
  2. Having been legally declared insolvent.
  3. Destitute of, or wholly lacking (something once possessed, or something one should possess).
    a morally bankrupt politician

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for bankrupt in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


bankrupt (third-person singular simple present bankrupts, present participle bankrupting, simple past and past participle bankrupted)

  1. (transitive) To force into bankruptcy.



bankrupt (plural bankrupts)

  1. One who becomes unable to pay his or her debts; an insolvent person.
  2. (Britain, law, obsolete) A trader who secretes himself, or does certain other acts tending to defraud his creditors.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Blackstone to this entry?)