What is the meaning of bankruptcy? The history of the word “bankruptcy” is actually quite interesting. Etymologists believe that the term was coined sometime in the 16th century in Italian trading centers. In the Italian language, the word for “bank” is the same as “bench”: banca. This is because banking was literally done on benches. People made deposits and if bankers made an unfortunate speculation that resulted in the loss of depositors’ money, angry mobs might sometimes break their bench in retaliation. So that explains the “bank” part of the word, but what about the second half?
“Rupt” might remind you of the word “rupture,” which makes sense because it is the root word. The definition of rupture is to break or burst suddenly, and this part of the word actually comes from Latin, not Italian. The Italian word for “break” is “rompere,” but somehow that didn’t stick, and so we say bankruptcy today!
Based on this etymology you could say that the word bankruptcy means “the bank is broken” and that would indeed be the direct translation. Other synonyms include “insolvency,” and “ruin,” but it is important to remember that even though these definitions may sound rather harsh, often bankruptcy is brought about by circumstances that are outside of debtors’ control. Unexpected illness or injury can create enormous amounts of medical debt, or job loss can place families in deep, financial hardship. No one should have to deal with shame and guilt in addition to the health challenges, job loss, or other difficulties that they could not have anticipated.
It does not really matter how you came to your current situation of financial hardship; the most important thing is what step you will take next. It’s possible that bankruptcy may be the best choice for you or it might be a bad decision. I suggest you take the next step and contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn your best option. The Utah Bankruptcy Guy offers free consultations and chance for you to learn your best options. Broken benches can be mended and bankruptcy may give you exactly the fresh start that you need.