Coup de grace ("blow of mercy") historically refers to killing a soldier severely wounded in battle.


Features of the coup de grace:

(1) A soldier (may be on the same or the other side) severely wounded in battle.

(2) Little hope of recovery or no access to medical care.

(3) High likelihood of prolonged suffering.

(4) Another soldier gives a quick death to keep the person from suffering.


The wounded soldier may ask to be killed but also may not. The killer may act to avoid to burden rather than show mercy.


Coup de grace also refers to a shot to the head that finishes off a person being executed.


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