Definition of coup de théâtre in English:

Share this entry

coup de théâtre

Pronunciation: /ˌko͞o də tāˈät(rə)/

noun (plural coups de théâtre pronounced same)

A sensational or dramatically sudden action or turn of events, especially in a play.
Example sentences
  • But Fancioulle's giving of life to a timeless work of art actually prepares the eventual entrance of death onto the stage in a dramatic coup de théâtre.
  • There is a final coup de théâtre that strikes me as needlessly flashy.
  • Dramatically, visually and ideologically, it was a triumph, a daring coup de théâtre that implicitly relocated the largely white audience within the on-stage struggle of the dignified West Indians.


Mid 18th century: French, literally 'blow of theater'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: coup de thé·â·tre

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.