I. adjective 1. (of a person or organization) declared in law as unable to pay their debts • his father went bankrupt and the family had to sell their home.
2. impoverished or depleted • a bankrupt country with no natural resources.
3. completely lacking in a particular good quality • their cause is morally bankrupt.
II. noun a person judged by a court to be insolvent, whose property is taken and disposed of for the benefit of their creditors. III. verb — [with obj.] 1. reduce (a person or organization) to bankruptcy • the strike nearly bankrupted the union.
– origin mid 16th cent.: from Italian banca rotta ‘broken bench’, from banca (see bank2) and rompere ‘to break’. The change in the ending was due to association with Latin rupt- ‘broken’.