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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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