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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

casus belli

A Latin phrase meaning occasion of war, used to mean a reason or excuse for going to war or beginning a dispute.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The policy portrayed is one of deliberate Israeli acts of provocation, intended to generate Arab hostility and thus to create pretexts for war, armed action and territorial expansion.
Some of the classic US pretexts for war include the "mysterious" sinking of the USS Maine off Cuba in 1898, which outraged the American public and precipitated the Spanish-American War.
Unlike the first Bush administration, when Secretary of State James Baker asserted that the rationale for the Gulf War was to keep the oil flowing to the West ("To sum it up in one word, it's jobs"), this administration decided to stick to antiterrorism and patriotism as its pretexts for war.