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lese majesty

[lez, leez]
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noun
  1. Law.
    1. a crime, especially high treason, committed against the sovereign power.
    2. an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler.
  2. an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people: Her speech against Mother's Day was criticized as lese majesty.
Also lèse majesty, lèse maj·es·té [lez mah-juh-stey; lez maj-uh-stee, leez] /ˈlɛz ˌmɑ dʒəˈsteɪ; ˈlɛz ˈmædʒ ə sti, ˈliz/.

Origin of lese majesty

1530–40; < French lèse-majesté, after Latin (crīmen) laesae mājestātis (the crime) of injured majesty
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lese-majesty

Historical Examples

  • They have conquered you already, as they boast, for the crime of lese-majesty has placed you at their mercy.

    The Rise of the Dutch Republic, Volume III.(of III) 1574-84

    John Lothrop Motley

  • Got to have a finger in some political pie, and political pies in Russia before the war were lese-majesty.

    The Drums Of Jeopardy

    Harold MacGrath

  • How could they, when they saw in the temper of the people too plain proofs that their lese-majesty had borne evil fruit?


British Dictionary definitions for lese-majesty

lese-majesty

noun
  1. any of various offences committed against the sovereign power in a state; treason
  2. an attack on authority or position

Word Origin

C16: from French lèse majesté, from Latin laesa mājestās wounded majesty
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

Word Origin and History for lese-majesty

n.

"offense against sovereign authority, treason," 1530s (mid-15c. as an Anglo-French word), from French lèse-majesté, from Latin laesa majestos "violated majesty," from laesus, past participle of laedere "to hurt, injure, damage, offend, insult," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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