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A coup d'état (
The phrase coup d'état is French, literally meaning a "stroke of state" or "blow against the state". In French the word "État" (French:
Although the concept of a coup d'état has featured in politics since antiquity, the phrase is of relatively recent coinage; the
One early use within text translated from French was in 1785 in a printed translation of a letter from a French merchant, commenting on an arbitrary decree or "arrêt" issued by the French king restricting the import of British wool. What may be its first published use within a text composed in English is an editor's note in the London
There was a report in circulation yesterday of a sort of coup d'état having taken place in France, in consequence of some formidable conspiracy against the existing government.
...the actors in torture, the distributors of the poisoning draughts, and the secret executioners of those unfortunate individuals or families, whom Bonaparte's measures of safety require to remove. In what revolutionary tyrants call grand[s] coups d'état, as butchering, or poisoning, or drowning, en masse, they are exclusively employed.
Clayton Thyne and Jonathan Powell's dataset of coups defines attempted coups as "illegal and overt attempts by the military or other elites within the state apparatus to unseat the sitting executive." They arrive at this definition by combining common definitions in the existing literature and removing specificities and ambiguities that exist in many definitions.
In looser usage, as in "intelligence coup" or "boardroom coup", the term simply refers to gaining a sudden advantage on a rival.
Since an unsuccessful coup d'état in 1920 (the
Other recent and notable unsuccessful minority reactionary coups that are often referred to as Putsches are the 1923
Pronunciamiento ("pronouncement") is a term of
One author makes a distinction between a coup and a pronunciamiento. In a coup, it is the military, paramilitary, or opposing political faction that deposes the current government and assumes power; whereas, in the pronunciamiento, the military deposes the existing government and installs an (ostensibly) civilian government.