any controversy that attracts great public attention, as a celebrated legal case or trial.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use cause célèbre in a sentence
The prosecutors’ decision not to press for a longer sentence came after a surge of public support for Bacot, whose case has become a genuine cause célèbre.Woman Who Shot Dead Her Abusive Stepfather-Turned-Husband to Be Freed After Global Outcry | Philippe Naughton | June 25, 2021 | The Daily Beast
As celebrities on the movie promotion circuit are wont to do, Cameron Diaz is hawking her latest cause celebre.Waxing: Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t: How Pubic Hair Became Political | Emily Shire | April 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In his first term, Obama made the settlements something of a cause celebre.
She was this cause celebre, this major novelist, like better than Updike.Courtney Love Loves Fashion Week, Hates the Subway | Jacob Bernstein | September 15, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
Rains kept silent about her dismissal even as the case became a cause celebre around her.
British Dictionary definitions for cause célèbre
a famous lawsuit, trial, or controversy
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
Cultural definitions for cause célèbre
A cause or issue, generally political, that arouses public opinion: “The question of the draft was a cause célèbre in the 1960s.” From French, meaning “celebrated cause.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.