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A Word A Day — kaput

Good morning, Netizens...

November 09, 2012

Word of the Day

  • kaput
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kuh-PUT\


: utterly finished, defeated, or destroyed
: unable to function : useless
: hopelessly outmoded

Shortly after Richard retired as CEO, the firm went kaput.

"We humans casually disrobed on social networks and pranced about, then one day caught sight of ourselves in the mirror and are now, egad, desperately rifling through mountains of cast-off clothing for our own. Too late. Privacy is kaput...." — From an article by Betsy Shea-Taylor in The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, Massachusetts), June 8, 2012


"Kaput" originated with a card game called piquet that has been popular in France for centuries. French players originally used the term "capot" to describe both big winners and big losers. To win all twelve tricks in a hand was called "faire capot" ("to make capot"), but to lose them all was known as "être capot" ("to be capot"). German speakers adopted "capot," but respelled it "kaputt," and used it only for losers. When English speakers borrowed the word from German, they started using "kaput" for things that were broken, useless, or destroyed.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.