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casus belli

[key-suh s bel-ahy, bel-ee; Latin kah-soo s bel-lee] /ˈkeɪ səs ˈbɛl aɪ, ˈbɛl i; Latin ˈkɑ sʊs ˈbɛl li/
noun, plural casus belli
[key-suh s bel-ahy, bel-ee; Latin kah-soos bel-lee] /ˈkeɪ səs ˈbɛl aɪ, ˈbɛl i; Latin ˈkɑ sus ˈbɛl li/ (Show IPA)
an event or political occurrence that brings about a declaration of war.
Origin of casus belli
1840-50; < New Latin: literally, occurrence of war Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for casus belli
Historical Examples
  • There was much difference of opinion at the Court of the Sultan whether the action of Austria should be treated as a casus belli.

  • He would be an "Ishmaelite," finding "casus belli" in all the purposes of fate.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • The incident or accident threatened to assume the proportions of a casus belli.

    Union and Democracy Allen Johnson
  • He adds that with the Germans war is instinctive; there is no casus belli at all.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • It was tantamount to a declaration of war, and was everywhere regarded as a casus belli, and Lemuel Dalton accepted it as such.

    Unfettered Sutton E. Griggs
  • The Markgrafs casus belli was now gone; but his demands knew no bounds.

    The Story of Nuremberg Cecil Headlam
  • For there was considerable difference of opinion as to what should be the casus belli.

    A History of England, Period III. Rev. J. Franck Bright
  • The farmer had taken his cats part, and scolded the man, and hence the casus belli.

    Cats W. Gordon Stables
  • The refusal of the foreign Government constitutes a casus belli.

    The Great Illusion Norman Angell
  • If not, although a man of peace, I shall consider it a casus belli!

British Dictionary definitions for casus belli

casus belli

/ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː/
noun (pl) casus belli (ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː)
an event or act used to justify a war
the immediate cause of a quarrel
Word Origin
literally: occasion of war
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for casus belli

1849, from Latin casus "case" (see case (n.1)) + belli, genitive of bellum "war" (see bellicose). An act justifying war.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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