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December 12, 2022

Kaput / adjective / ka·put

English speakers use the word kaput to describe ultimate and often unpleasant endings. Something that has "gone kaput" has reached its end, is no longer functional, and there is no hope for repair. We can also use the word kaput as a verb meaning to break, smash, or destroy completely. Kaput is commonly used to describe endings that were unexpected, sudden, or with negative consequences.

In a Sentence

The new house owners were upset when the water heater went kaput at the most inopportune time on the coldest day of the winter.

After fixing the bike for the third time, I was starting to get the sneaking suspicion that my bike had gone kaput and was beyond repair.

The car was stuck on the side of the busy expressway during rush hour traffic when its engine suddenly went kaput.


The word “kaput” originated from a French card game; the term was spelled “capot,” and it was used to describe both big winners and losers of the game. German speakers adopted the term but respelled it to “kaputt” and applied it to losers of any competition. English speakers borrowed the word from German, but the word is used as an adjective for anything broken, useless, or destroyed.


Broken, Destroyed


Functional, Operable


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