In Latin America, we have the Portuguese/Spanish word golpista (from the word golpe = coup d'état). In the British media, I've read coup monger and also putschist (from German word putsch = coup d'état). But are these expressions as common in English as golpista is for Latin Americans?
There is no specific English agent noun for the leader or participants in the modern sense of a coup d'état, at least in common usage.
You will usually find coup coupled with a generic term for a leader. In fact, coup leader has the most results in COCA and the BNC among all my searches. Coup organizer is roughly equivalent though much less common. In headlines or in less formal usage, coup chief or coup head might also be suitable.
Coup ringleader and coup boss are dismissive and pejorative, as would be other negative words coupled with coup: plotter, conspirator, schemer, etc. You need not formulate these as attributives, either; you're more likely to read about the orchestrator of the coup than the coup orchestrator, for example.
One could make the case for usurper or deposer, but I would not say they are commonly applied to actors in a coup d'etat. A deposer can be one who deposes in the sense of removing another from power, but this sense has been largely overshadowed by the legal sense of deposer, one who collects a deposition (sworn testimony). Usurper in contrast is well-understood, but it carries strong connotations of the seizure of a crown (or something likened to a crown). It's unremarkable to say Henry VII was the usurper who ousted Richard III, but it's unusual to say that Nasser was the usurper who overthrow Farouk. After all, there was no longer a throne to usurp— Nasser replaced the monarchy, not just the monarch.
one that attempts or supports a coup d'etat (MW)
— but little elsewhere.
Assuming that by coup d'état you mean the sudden, usually violent overthrow of a government outside of regular political processes, revolutionary or one of its synonyms (rebel, insurrectionist, etc.) would seem most likely. From Collins Dictionaries:
social studies a person who supports or takes part in a revolution
social studies a sudden and great change, esp. the violent change of a system of government
The main distinguishing characteristic of a coup seems to be that the group of revolutionaries is relatively small and may come from within the government, and that the (attempted) overthrow is very swift. English doesn't seem to have a specific way of distinguishing either a small or an internal group of revolutionaries, although I would say that some synonyms are less likely to fit those parameters.
In this satirical allegory, farm animals representing Bolshevik revolutionaries successfully execute a coup d'état (which they call 'The Rebellion') —first entry (Animal Farm) in Wikipedia's "List of fictional revolutions and coups"
A coup d'état is thus a revolution although it does not often result in a dislocation within the country as always happens in the case of a classic revolution. . . . [I]f the coup succeeds the constitution . . . is replaced with other laws promulgated by the revolutionaries. —Carlson Anyangwe, Revolutionary Overthrow of Constitutional Orders in Africa (also uses the phrase coup-makers)
A coup launched in Berlin by a group of radical socialist revolutionaries is brutally suppressed by right-wing paramilitary units from January 10 to January 15, 1919; the group’s leaders, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, are murdered. —"This Day in History", The History Channel website
The term coup-makers, mentioned in the second example above, is sometimes used specifically for those who are most directly responsible for a coup attempt. This may be used more or less interchangeably with revolutionaries by some authors, but at least one source has argued that a distinction should be observed.
Coup leaders often proclaim themselves “revolutionaries,” but coups are not revolutions. . . . Revolutionaries seek fundamental social, economic, and political change; coup-makers may seek this, but they may act to prevent change or merely to gain the rewards of political office. —"Coup d’etat." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
In practice, I believe the more general term is at least as common as any of the more specialized terms; however, it is extremely difficult to prove this, as the phrase "the revolutionaries" stands alone and only collocates with coup within the wider discussion making any automated corpus search difficult. However, coup-makers would be an excellent term to clarify the specific type of overthrow without a lot of context.
AN USURPER is an illegitimate or controversial claimant to power, often but not always in a monarchy. This may include a person who succeeds in establishing himself as a monarch without inheriting the throne or any other person exercising authority unconstitutionally.
Usurper is a very common word and very appropriate for the leader of a coup d'etat. It can also in the plural apply to a group or a movement, but seeing as all groups tend to have a leader, Usurper makes sense in the singular as the focus of the usurpation.
The term is very established and old and is a bit antiquated for modern precise use, it's pronunciation is not the same as Georgian english, as it has vague, romantic and literary drama connotations perhaps. The Times for example may chose another term because Usurper has existed since the middle ages, and was more frequently used previous to WW2, because it still has a royalist and imperial tone of times past. It is more appropriately used for coup leaders of previous centuries, where it fits perfectly. The most current term is Coup Leader, Leader of N faction, Ex General, Warlord, Insurrectionist, Recent Accessor to power, New leader, Coup Plotter, Revolutionary, which are mostly 2-3 syllable terms and highly practical.
Usurpation: The wrongful seizure of something by force, especially of sovereignty or other authority. Trespass onto another's property without permission. A taking or use without right.
an overthrower is a generic term for one who causes the downfall of a ruler.
King Charles's overthrower, Oliver Cromwell, was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth from 1653 to 1658.
overthrower - "one who brings about the downfall, destruction, or ending of another, especially by force or concerted action"
- a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country.
The rebels overthrew the government in a well-organised coup de état
Often "coup d'état" is shortened to just "coup". It is not common to see coup d'état in it's full form unless you are discussing a coup d'état itself.
Golpista is a good word. It is difficult to find a direct and meaningful translation for this.
"participant in a coup" would be the most literal and direct translation. However, this phrase is so generic that most people do not normally say this.
Every coup d'état has an ideology or methodology behind it. Generally you pick a either the ideology or the methodology to describe these participants.
If you describe participants based on ideology you could call them "militants" or "nationalists" or "anarchists" or "communists". The coup itself would then be a "military coup", or a "nationalist coup", or "anarchist coup" or a "communist coup."
If you describe the participants by methodology you could say they were "extremists" or "terrorists" or "pacifists". The coup itself would then be an "extremist coup" or "terrorist coup" or "pacifist coup".
In Spanish there are words for all of these things already: "militantes, nacionalistas, anarquistas, comunistas, extremistas, terroristas, pacifistas"
So for working English, just pick the kind of golpista they are.
Looking at the wikipedia page for the recent Turkish coup attempts, there isn't one agreed upon term, with different contributors/sources using different words. The most common one seems to be plotter though. Here's the frequency as of today:
Coup leader(s)- 4
You may consider also subversive:
a person who adopts subversive principles or policies.
(Also, subversionary) tending or intending to subvert or overthrow, destroy, or undermine an established or existing system, especially a legally constituted government or a set of beliefs. noun
- In fact, the spokespeople of the dictatorship continued to insist that Cuban-oriented subversives were busily attempting to destabilize the country.!As the regime conducted several successful mopping up operations in the countryside between 1961 and 1963, it attempted to win favor with the new administration in Washington.
You might be interested in the term Junta
a military or political group that rules a country after taking power by force.
If the Junta is successful the leader might be called Generalissimo (e.g. Generalissimo Franco)
The Spanish word golpe is a very convenient word as it can have various meanings including coup d'état. The English equivalent should be "couper" or "coupist" and the word "coupist" is listed in some dictionaries.
One who takes part in a coup d'état
a leader or a participant in a coup d'état
one that attempts or supports a coup d'etat
This word is not broadly used in English and a participant in coup (or coup d'état) will be a more appropriate term.
Surprised no one mentioned Insurrectionist. Listed under insurrection as a related noun.
in·sur·rec·tion (ĭn′sə-rĕk′shən) n.
The act or an instance of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government.
It would depend on win/lose/draw. Win; Despot? Dictator? Emperor? Head Congressional Clown? No, wait, that would be here. Lose; Dead. Draw; Ambassador or Envoy to some place where many horrid things happen hourly.
protected by MetaEd♦ Dec 9 '16 at 21:57
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?