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Golpe and Coup

The Spanish for “a hit”, Golpe, comes from the Greek for the same, Colaphus. We can see the transition in the g-l-p of golpe mapping to the c-l-ph of colaphus.

The more interesting part, however, is that, from the same root we also get the French, and English, word coup — as in, a coup d’état. Coup is just colaphus, but with the middle -l- sound disappearing in French.

So, a coup d’état is just a big hit against the state!


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