casus belli

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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"
Mentioned in ?
References in classic literature ?
I couldn't make a casus belli of it just then, because my Chief had taken all the troops to hammer a gang of slave kings up north.
Such might have been the end of it had the CASUS BELLI been other than it was; but Teeka was flattered at the attention that was being drawn to her and by the fact that these two young bulls were contemplating battle on her account.
Another artificial casus belli is the McMahon Line.
Even if the most grandiose claims for "Russiagate" are true, they don't constitute anything close to a legitimate casus belli.
Over the past month, Iran's Lebanese allies led by President Michael Aoun have been looking for casus belli to start a new conflict with Israel, while Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dispatched his possible successor Ayatollah Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi to Lebanon.
The storm raised by a section of opinion in India over the removal of Mrs Kulbhushan Jadhav's shoes when she met her husband is not the result of frustration at the effectiveness of Pakistan's gesture, so much as the search for a casus belli, resembling nothing more than the cutting off of Jenkins' ear in 1731, which led to the War of Jenkins' Ear between England and Spain in 1738.
That the soldiers were not much concerned about slavery on either side" completely misses the salient point that the governments for whom these soldiers fought were clear-eyed about the war's casus belli, which is set forth with depressing clarity in secession documents.
A wise thing, too, because an impish member of the council was waiting for casus belli to cut off the water service of the delinquent debtors.
In the thick of the latest casus belli, words of influential faith leaders like Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, sought to offer solace.
On savait que les mesures fiscales dont avait accouche cette LF echafaudee dans le secret du palais de la Kasbah avaient tout pour constituer un casus belli.
The alleged intelligence activities against the diplomatic representatives of Serbia to Skopje are listed like casus belli, and the level of rhetoric implies "increased offensive activities against the Republic of Serbia".
The altercation has been cast as the casus belli that damaged the relations between the two men; but, as Binag herself said, quite tellingly: 'I find it petty for some matured (sic) men to be burning bridges of friendship over a girls' spat.