Definition of bankrupt in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbaŋkrʌpt/


1(Of a person or organization) declared in law as unable to pay their debts: his father went bankrupt and the family had to sell their home
More example sentences
  • The trustee's job is to liquidate bankrupt companies to repay bondholders.
  • Lawyers are aggressively suing on behalf of bankrupt companies to recoup money paid to creditors
  • Cantillon quickly built up a successful banking business and paid off the debts of his bankrupt uncle despite the very chaotic financial conditions in France.
insolvent, bankrupted;
failed, ruined, wiped out, gone under;
in debt, owing money, in the red, in arrears;
British  in administration, in receivership
informal bust, belly up, gone to the wall, on the rocks, broke, flat broke
informal, dated smashed
British informal skint, stony broke, cleaned out, in Queer Street
British informal, dated in Carey Street
1.1Impoverished or depleted: a bankrupt country with no natural resources
More example sentences
  • Britain, bankrupt and exhausted by the war, lost the will to hold what it had.
2Completely lacking in a particular good quality: their cause is morally bankrupt
More example sentences
  • There's virtue to such curiosity and research, but it could also leave an exhausted writer holding an emotionally bankrupt manuscript in calloused hands.
  • Because when we're emotionally bankrupt by virtue of having burned ourselves out, then we have nothing to give.
  • In truth, he was politically bankrupt after 2000, and he is not all that much stronger today.
completely lacking in, without, bereft of, exhausted of, devoid of, empty of, depleted of, destitute of, vacant of, bare of, denuded of, deprived of;
in need of, wanting
informal minus, sans


A person judged by a court to be insolvent, whose property is taken and disposed of for the benefit of their creditors.
Example sentences
  • But we will provide more effective protection against the small minority of bankrupts who abuse their creditors and the public.
  • The reason for the foregoing restraint on bankrupts ' pursuing claims in relation to their property which they owned before a sequestration order is well explained in the cases.
  • The law permits bankrupts to sue for libel and keep any money awarded from such suits.
insolvent, bankrupt person;


[with object]
Reduce (a person or organization) to bankruptcy: the strike nearly bankrupted the union
More example sentences
  • ‘They did shut the Wysick before and it nearly bankrupted him,’ he said.
  • The flip side to that, however, is that it also nearly bankrupted us in the process.
  • However, the house nearly bankrupted him and it was bought in 1707 by the Dalrymple family, who dominated Scottish law in the 18th century.
ruin, make bankrupt, cause to go bankrupt, make insolvent, impoverish, reduce to penury/destitution, bring to ruin, bring someone to their knees, wipe out, break, cripple
rare pauperize, beggar


Mid 16th century: from Italian banca rotta 'broken bench', from banca (see bank2) and rompere 'to break'. The change in the ending was due to association with Latin rupt- 'broken'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bank|rupt

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