cause célèbre

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cause cé·lè·bre

 (kôz′ sə-lĕb′, kōz′ sā-lĕb′rə)
n. pl. causes cé·lè·bres (kôz′ sə-lĕb′, kōz′ sā-lĕb′rə)
1. An issue arousing widespread controversy or heated public debate.
2. A celebrated legal case.

[French : cause, case + célèbre, celebrated.]

cause célèbre

(ˈkɔːz səˈlɛbrə; -ˈlɛb; French koz selɛbrə)
n, pl causes célèbres (ˈkɔːz səˈlɛbrəz; -ˈlɛb; ˈkɔːzɪz səˈlɛbrə; -ˈlɛbz; French koz selɛbrə)
(Communications & Information) a famous lawsuit, trial, or controversy
[C19: from French: famous case]

cause cé•lè•bre

(ˈkɔz səˈlɛb; Fr. koʊz seɪˈlɛb rə)

n., pl. causes cé•lè•bres (ˈkɔz səˈlɛb; Fr. koʊz seɪˈlɛb rə)
any controversy that attracts great public attention.
[1755–65; < French: literally, famous case]

cause célèbre

A French phrase meaning famous case, used to refer to any matter or issue that arouses great public interest or controversy.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cause celebre - an incident that attracts great public attention
incident - a single distinct event
Translations
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References in classic literature ?
It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.