- Also called seppuku. ceremonial suicide by ripping open the abdomen with a dagger or knife: formerly practiced in Japan by members of the warrior class when disgraced or sentenced to death.
- suicide or any suicidal action; a self-destructive act: political hara-kiri.
Origin of hara-kiri
Examples from the Web for hara-kiri
He was attending a lesson in hara-kiri taken by his young son.The Usurper
The hara-kiri was of course a last resort, but it was an honorable death.Japanese Girls and Women
Alice Mabel Bacon
So it was not without cause that they were taught at school the hara-kiri.
The performance of hara-kiri carried with it certain privileges.
I seemed fully to sympathize with the Japanese view of hara-kiri.Adrift on an Ice-Pan
Wilfred T. Grenfell
- (formerly, in Japan) ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword when disgraced or under sentence of deathAlso called: seppuku
Word Origin and History for hara-kiri
"suicide by disembowelment," 1856, from Japanese, literally "belly-cutting," the colloquial word for what is formally called seppuku "cut open the stomach;" from hara "belly" + kiri "to cut."
A ritual of suicide, associated with warriors in traditional Japanese society.