A certificate of interest which is to be cut off [French, couper ] from a bond and presented for payment. It bears on its face the date and amount of interest to be paid. If the coupons are exhausted before the principal is paid off, new ones are gratuitously supplied to the holder of the bond.
Most foreign state-bonds expire in a stated term of years, generally a portion being paid off annually at par. Suppose there are 1,000 bonds, and 10 are paid off annually, then in 100 years all are paid off and the obligation is cancelled.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894