originated with a card game called piquet
that has been popular in France for centuries. French players originally used the term capot
to describe both big winners and big losers in piquet. To win all twelve tricks in a hand was called "faire capot
" ("to make capot"), but to lose them all was known as "être capot
" ("to be capot"). German speakers adopted capot
, but respelled it kaputt
, and used it only for losers. When English speakers borrowed the word from German, they started using kaput
for things that were broken, useless, or destroyed.