bank·rupt (băngkrŭpt′, -rəpt)
1. Law A person, business, or organization legally declared insolvent because of inability to pay debts.
2. A person who is totally lacking in a specified resource or quality: an intellectual bankrupt.
a. Having been legally declared insolvent.
b. Financially ruined; impoverished.
a. Depleted of valuable qualities or characteristics: a morally and ethically bankrupt politician.
b. Totally depleted; destitute: was bankrupt of new ideas.
c. Being in a ruined state: a bankrupt foreign policy.
tr.v. bank·rupt·ed, bank·rupt·ing, bank·rupts
1. To cause to become financially bankrupt.
2. To ruin: an administration that bankrupted its credibility by seeking to manipulate the news.
[French banqueroute, from Italian banca rotta, broken counter (from the practice of breaking the counters of bankrupt bankers) : banca, moneychanger's table; see BANK2 + rotta, feminine of rotto, past participle of rompere, to break (from Latin rumpere; see reup- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.