1834, "low, short, four-wheeled, close carriage without the front seat, carrying two inside, with an outside seat for the driver," also "front compartment of a stage coach," from French coupe (18c.), short for carrosse coupe "cut-off carriage," a shorter version of the Berlin, minus the back seat, from couper "to cut (in half);" see coup. Applied to closed two-door automobiles by 1897. Coup de ville is from 1931, originally a car with an open driver's position and an enclosed passenger compartment.
updated on April 17, 2018