casus belli

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ca·sus bel·li

 (kā′səs bĕl′ī, kä′səs bĕl′ē)
n. pl. casus belli
An act or event that provokes or is used to justify war.

[New Latin cāsus bellī : Latin cāsus, occasion + Latin bellī, genitive of bellum, war.]

casus belli

(ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː)
n, pl casus belli (ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː)
1. (Military) an event or act used to justify a war
2. the immediate cause of a quarrel
[literally: occasion of war]

ca•sus bel•li

(ˈkeɪ səs ˈbɛl aɪ, ˈbɛl i; Lat. ˈkɑ sʊs ˈbɛl li)

n., pl. ca•sus bel•li (ˈkeɪ səs ˈbɛl aɪ, ˈbɛl i; Lat. ˈkɑ sus ˈbɛl li)
an event or political occurrence that brings about or is used to validate a declaration of war.
[1840–50; < New Latin: literally, occurrence of war]

casus belli

A Latin phrase meaning occasion of war, used to mean a reason or excuse for going to war or beginning a dispute.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.casus belli - an event used to justify starting a war
beginning - the event consisting of the start of something; "the beginning of the war"
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References in periodicals archive ?
That's not to forget the live bands that will be working their magic, namely Cassus Belli and Afro Banana band.
But, let's be clear, there is no smoking gun, there is no cassus belli.
There has been a proliferation of alarmist predictions that worsening water shortages in the region will aggravate disputes between states, particularly in the absence of a satisfactory body of international law to deal with the issue of shared water courses, and could become a cassus belli in the Middle East in the years ahead.