lese majesty

[ leez-maj-uh-stee, lez ]
See synonyms for lese majesty on Thesaurus.com
  1. Law.

    • a crime, especially high treason, committed against the sovereign power.

    • 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.

Origin of lese majesty

First recorded in 1450–1500 in spelling lese mageste; current spelling dates from 1785–80; partial translation of Anglo-French, Middle French lese majesté, leze magesté, from Latin (crīmen) laesae mājestātis “(the crime) of injured majesty” (originally against the Roman people, later against the emperor)
  • Also lèse maj·es·ty, lèse maj·es·té [lez-mah-juh-stey; lez-maj-uh-stee, leez-maj-uh-stee]. /ˈlɛz ˈmɑ dʒəˈsteɪ; ˈlɛz ˈmædʒ ə sti, ˈliz ˈmædʒ ə sti/.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lese majesty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lese-majesty


/ (ˈliːzˈmædʒɪstɪ) /

  1. any of various offences committed against the sovereign power in a state; treason

  2. an attack on authority or position

Origin of lese-majesty

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