Jump to content

Coup de grâce

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Coup de grace)
Yell of Triumph, a painting by Alfred Jacob Miller depicting Native American hunters gathering around a mortally wounded buffalo, and engaging in a victory shout before administering their "coup de grâce" to the animal

A coup de grâce (/ˌk də ˈɡrɑːs/; French: [ku ɡʁɑs] 'blow of mercy') is a death blow to end the suffering of a severely wounded person or animal.[1][2] It may be a mercy killing of mortally wounded civilians or soldiers, friends or enemies, with or without the sufferer's consent. The meaning has extended to refer to the final event that causes a figurative death.[2]

Modern law[edit]

Today, a coup de grâce for incapacitated soldiers would be a war crime: the laws of war mandate caring for the incapacitated and prohibit mercy killing.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries, eds. The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005. ISBN 978-0618604999 p. 119.
  2. ^ a b Charles Harrington Elster. The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations: The Complete Opinionated Guide for the Careful Speaker. 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, 2006. ISBN 978-0618423156 pp. 110–111.
  3. ^ Blum, Gabriella (2010). "The Laws of War and the "Lesser Evil"". The Yale Journal of International Law. 35 (1). hdl:20.500.13051/6604. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-03-09.

External links[edit]