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"