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The man now has a broken bench signifying bankruptcy.

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Originally, a banker became bankrupt because his bench was broken when he lacked the necessary funds to continue with his money business as an early "banker".

This entry is located in the following unit: An Illustrated Approach to a Bigger and Better Vocabulary (page 1)
bankrupt (s) (noun), bankrupts (pl)
1. A debtor who, upon voluntary petition is judged to be legally insolvent. The debtor's remaining property is then administered for the creditors or is distributed among them: "Jim's father became bankrupt and the family had to sell their house so they could pay the unpaid dept."
2. Any insolvent debtor; a person, or organization, that is unable to satisfy any justified monetary claims made upon it: "As a result of being bankrupt, the company went out of business."
3. A person who is totally lacking in a specified resource or quality: "Jerome was considered to be intellectually bankrupt."
4. Etymology: from Italian banca rotta, from banca "moneylender's shop"; litterally, "bench" + rotta "broken, defeated, interrupted" from (and remodeled on) Latin rupta, past participle of rumpere "to break".
Bankrupt illustration of what the origin or etymology of the word is.
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Being bankrupt or insolvent started long before our modern times

The original meaning in Italian was the ruin or breaking up of a trader's business because of his failure to pay creditors, or the abandonment of business to avoid paying debts. The modification of this sense to mean "an insolvent person" is peculiar to English.

In medieval times, Italian moneylenders used a small bench in the markeplace to conduct their business. The Latin word for such a bench, banca, is in fact the source for the English word bank. These money lenders, the "bankers" of their day, were required to break up their benches if they failed in business.

The term bankrupt appeared in 1543 and was borrowed through Middle French banqueroute, and directly from Italian banca rotta, "bankruptcy" (literally, "bank broken"; rotta from rompere, "to break", from Latin rumpere, "to break"; the modern form -rupt is an alteration of Medieval Latin ruptus, "broken", and as a noun meaning "a bankrupt"), later became the English word bankrupt.

—Compiled from information located in
Thereby Hangs a Tale by Charles Earle Funk; Harper & Row, Publishers;
New York; page 26-27.
This entry is located in the following unit: rupt-, -rupting, -ruption (page 1)
bankrupt (verb), bankrupts; bankrupted; bankrupting
1. To cause to become financially insolvent: "The officials have been bankrupting their company with excessive spending and inadequate sales to cover those expenses."
2. To ruin: "The newspaper had an administration that bankrupted its credibility by seeking to manipulate the news."
This entry is located in the following unit: rupt-, -rupting, -ruption (page 1)
bankrupt (adjective), more bankrupt, most bankrupt
This entry is located in the following unit: rupt-, -rupting, -ruption (page 1)