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Coop, coup or coupe

Coop, coup and coupe are three words that are pronounced similarly and are spelled similarly, but have very different meanings. We will look at the definition of the words coop, coup and coupe, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A coop is a small pen where poultry is kept, or small animals. In Britain, the word coop may also refer to a wicker basket in which one catches fish. The word coop is derived from the Old English words cype and cypa, which mean basket.

The term coup has three very different definitions. First, coup may describe a sudden and violent overthrow of a government. Second, coup may mean an achievement procured with great difficulty. Third, coup was used to signify a tradition whereby Native Americans touched an enemy without harming him as an act of bravery. This tradition is called counting coup. The word coup is derived from the Old French word coup which means a strike, a blow. The letter p in the word coup is silent, following the French rules of pronunciation.


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A coupe is a car that only has two doors. The British English spelling of this word is coupé, though the acute accent over the letter e is being dropped more and more frequently. The word coupe comes from the French term carosse coupé which means cut-off carriage.

Examples

State wildlife officials have captured and relocated a grizzly bear after it got into a northwestern Montana chicken coop and fed on grain. (The Billings Gazette)

Venezuela’s congress yesterday declared the government had staged a coup by blocking a drive to recall President Nicolas Maduro in a legislative session interrupted when his supporters stormed the chamber. (The Australian)

Concord resident Joe Himsl’s dream car for many years had been the classic 1946-1948 Ford Coupe with a flathead V-8 engine, which Ford used until 1953. (The East Bay Times)

The precision-honed exterior design and the numerous S-specific details in the interior underscore the dynamic character of the Audi two-door sports coupé. (Automotive World)

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