• synonyms


[hahr-uh-keer-ee, har-uh-, har-ee-]
See more synonyms for hara-kiri on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. suicide or any suicidal action; a self-destructive act: political hara-kiri.
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Also hari-kari.

Origin of hara-kiri

1855–60; < Japanese, equivalent to hara belly (earlier fara < *para) + kiri cut
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for hara-kiri

Historical Examples

  • He was attending a lesson in hara-kiri taken by his young son.

    The Usurper

    Judith Gautier

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for hara-kiri


hari-kari (ˌhærɪˈkɑːrɪ)

  1. (formerly, in Japan) ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword when disgraced or under sentence of deathAlso called: seppuku
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Word Origin

C19: from Japanese taboo slang, from hara belly + kiri cutting
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 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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hara-kiri in Culture


[(har-i-keer-ee, hahr-uh-keer-ee)]

A ritual of suicide, associated with warriors in traditional Japanese society.

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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.