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Last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 04 February 2010

News Words: Coup


Coups can be military or civilian

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: coup


Clare Arthurs on: coup

Uses of 'coup'

a coup

When a group tries to take power from the current leaders. This can be used to refer to the attempted takeover of a country or, on a smaller scale. the removal of an individual with authority in a political party or organisation.

a coup d'Ă©tat

Expression from French also now used in English though often shortened to just 'coup'. Note that in all forms the 'p' in 'coup' is silent.

collocations with coup

a coup attempt

a military coup

a failed coup

to stage a coup

a coup

an unexpected and impressive achievement

It was such a coup for our magazine to get an interview with Paul McCartney.

A challenge for you

Has your country ever experienced a coup, either successful or failed?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and don't forget to use the word 'coup'.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Marwa, Iraq
They was a group of coup in Iraq, in the 1958 led by Brigadier General Abdul Karim Kassem, where they raided and attacked the king's house, to control a number of strategic points in Baghdad, such as radio and the Ministry of Defense. And carried out killings and assassinations against Iraqi citizens. Since that time, he succeeded in converting a system of government from the monarchy to rule the Republic of Iraq.

Michel, France
If the word "coup" has a French origin,perhaps it is not a matter of chance. The great master was Napoleon Bonapartean admirer of Julius Caesar who had taken advantage of the conquest of Gaule to seize power by leading his army beyond the Rubicon...the first coup of historical importance. Napoleon, another victorious general,also exploited the political and social instability to pull his coup off in 1799 His name had remained so popular that his nephew, Louis-Napoleon,was by far the winner of the first French presidential election in 1848. He modelled himself on his uncle and organized a coup three years after. Both of them declared many wars and governed above all thanks to plebiscites skillfully staged but the two "Empires" collapsed after a military desaster. A coup may usher in stability and even prosperity for some time but not for ever.

Lim, Korea
Korea has experienced coups twice. The first coup in 1961 was planned by the military officer Park Jeong-hee and the second in 1979 was planned by the military officer Jeon Du-hoan. Unfortunately, both coups succeed. As the two coups result, Korea was ruled by the military dictatorship from 1961 to 1987 and so many innocent people had been killed. Under the rule of military, Korea people had fought for democracy. As the result, the democratic government was established by direct election in 1987.But the coup forces of the past still exist and watch for an opportunity to make a comeback.

Mark, New Zealand
In new zealand's history, there was a significant coup in 19 century. originally,new zealand is an isolated island,living aboriginal maori.when englander first time arrived here, they fighted with maori.eventually,maori and englander reached an ceasefire agreement that funded a country new zealand.

Anna, Spain
There was a failed coup in Spain in 1981. Fortunately everything came back to the normality in few days. However, we can deny that during the hours that the militars took the Parliment, it was a nightmare . At that time Franco's regim was still in the people's mind.

Leonardo, Brazil
As you could see on others comments, Brazil have suffered a coup, and military forces took over the country. But they forgot to say that it was supported by USA! At that time they feared that We would became a socialist state. Thanks USA, you have supported the worst period of our time!

As Clare Arthur's companion gave Pervaiz Musharuf's example for a successful coup, there are more similar coups happened in Pakistan. The first ever in my homeland is Gen.Iscandar Mirza's coup, then Ayub khan's coup and the second last until today was Gen. Zia ul Haq's military coup. These are all counted as successful coups.But some attempted coups couldn't get successful because of various reasons. The USA is always accused for backing some of these coups either they were successful or not.

Guto, Brazil
Recently there was a coup on Honduras, South America. Oportunists wanted Zelaya President went out of the Country. Brazil's embassy accepted him on its site and gave him protection until the situation got to its end.

In our country we have alot of example of th coups. at firs Daod khan coup on Zahir sha and he become the presdint of afghanistan,Tarki coup on Daod he become the presidant,Hafiullah Amin coup on Tarki he brought his own govrnament but in these coups alot of country was interpering specialy Russia.

Joaquin Garcia Frometa, Dominican Republic
There was a Coup d'etat' in Santo Domingo, Dom Rep on Sept 25th, 1963 in which President Juan Bosch was overthrown by Military Forces 7 months after he took Power by Democratic Elections on December 1962. This ocurred almost two years after Trujillo Tyranny was put an end by his killing in May 1961 through another coup.

Tiana, Madagascar
there was a coup in my country last year on 17 Mars .It was lead by the young Andry Rajoelina and some military from the CAPSAT.They forced the head of the State Marc RAVALOMANANA to leave his seat by weapons...It was a succesful coup.

Thierry, France.
Thanks a lot ! In France, we haven't been subjected to coups since a long time. I think the last attempt was during the trouble with Algeria in the end of the 50's. At that time several generals belonging to the Army and against Algeria independance, tried to kill De Gaulle, the French President. Fortunately they failed. So the coup failed too, and the coup-plotters went on trial. Then they were condemned and served a jail sentence.

Ahmed, Egypt
there was a coup in my country egypt by men in the military in 1952 by a man called gamal abd el-naser and 300 another officers it had been called "Free Officers Movement" but it was bloodless and they forced the king of egypt at that time king farouk to leave egypt and after this coup gamal abd el-nasser was the president of egypt

yes...a coup has ever in my country, it's about 1965 when soeharto was makes smooth coup, Soeharto was used Indonesian Communist Party or it was known as PKI to achieved his goals to take over this country, and several General have murdered, and after that he take over my country and being the leader (president) for about 30 years and his regim known as "Orde Baru" or New Era in English.

Vitoria, Brazil
In 1964 during a political crisis the Brazilian president was forced to leave the country. Military forces took control through a military coup and governed the country for about 20 years. These dark years of the military dictatorship in Brazil marked a shameful period of political pursuit, lack of democracy and censure.

Ives, Mali
unfortunatly, my country like severals african's country experienced a "coup". it came after a sad bloodbath, called " BLACK FRIDAY" when women go out to die wiht their children... just ask any malian!it was when Moussa traore was overthrew by Amadou Toumani Touré(A.T.T)

Emanuela, Brazil
As in many other countries in South America, Brazil experienced a coup d'état during the sixties. Military groups took the power and started a dictatorial government. Newspapers, television, Universities - all public spheres were controlled by, disguised or not, military members. The opponents to the regime were persecuted and, many of them, killed under torture situation. The ones that couldn't accept living in the oppressive reality had to leave the country: Brazilian culture started to be produced abroad by artists and intellectuals on exile. The country passed through a false economic growth - the modernity arriving to the cities had an unaffordable cost, and the consequent huge FMI debt was finally paid just some years ago. The military left the power just on mid-1980s, leaving behind a tired nation full of economical problems and psychological fears.

Yaish, France
There was a coup d'état in France in 1851 by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte who became the Emperor of french people. He declared the French National Assembly's dissolution and fought the Republicans.

Chris, Poland
Even though there were a lot of failed coups, the polish one, staged by Józef Piłsudski seemed to be a huge success. The history clearly shows that the changes, which were introduced in many different kinds of activities, for instance - economic, military or even cultural areas, influenced the whole society,indeed. It should not be forget, even in the event of doubt realted to the person of Piłsudski, that this period of time was very important for post-war Poland,which had already regained independence. He was an authority for this generation.


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