Where Does The Word “Bankruptcy” Come From?

There are two possibilities according to BankruptcyData:  the first and most recognized is that “bankruptcy” is a combination of Bancus (latin for bench or table) and Ruptus (broken).  Back in the days a banker would do his trading on an open marketplace bench.  If the banker would no longer be able to meet his obligations then his bench was physically broken as a symbolic gesture to show his failure and inability to negotiate or do business.  This phrase carried over to Italy where the term morphed into “banco rotto” which means broken bank.  The other source of origin for the word is believed to be from the French “banque route” which means a table trace which was a metaphor for a sign left at the banker’s table that was once in business but not is gone.

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