Say the word “coup”, and chances are you say “coo”, that is, without pronouncing the “p”. As with many words of French origin, the final consonant is not pronounced, save for c, r, f, l, k, q, b (this is a rough-and-ready guide; French pronunciation rules are complex). Ultimately from the Greek kolaphos meaning “a blow, punch, slap”, via the Latin colaphus “a cuff, box on the ear”, thence the Vulgar Latin colapus and Medieval Latin colpus, the word entered English from the Old French coup or…


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