coup de grâce

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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Late 17th century. Borrowed from French coup de grâce (finishing blow). Originally referring to a merciful stroke putting a fatally wounded person out of misery or to the shot delivered to the head of a prisoner after facing a firing squad.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

coup de grâce (plural coups de grâce)

  1. A final blow or shot given to kill a wounded person or animal.
    • 1889, Ambrose Bierce, The Coup de Grâce:
      The expression of his face was an appeal; his eyes were full of prayer. [] For what, indeed? For that which we accord to even the meanest creature without sense to demand it, denying it only to the wretched of our own race: for the blessed release, the rite of uttermost compassion, the coup de grâce.
  2. (by extension) A remarkable finishing action.

Usage notes[edit]

Some speakers, aware that some final consonants are dropped in French, drop the final /s/ sound in grâce even though it is pronounced in French, making it sound like French coup de gras (strike of fat).

Translations[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Literally "strike of mercy".

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ku də ɡʁɑs/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

coup de grâce m (plural coups de grâce)

  1. finishing blow

Descendants[edit]

  • English: coup de grâce