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 (sĕp′o͞o-ko͞o, sĕ-po͞o′-)
Ritual suicide by disembowelment formerly practiced by Japanese samurai. Also called hara-kiri.

[Japanese : setsu, to cut (from Middle Chinese tshiat; also the source of Mandarin qiè) + fuku, stomach, abdomen (from Middle Chinese fuwk; also the source of Mandarin ).]


(Anthropology & Ethnology) another word for hara-kiri
[from Japanese, from Chinese ch'ieh to cut + fu bowels]


(ˈhɑr əˈkɪər i, ˈhær ə-, ˈhær i-)

also hari-kari

1. ceremonial suicide by ripping open the abdomen with a dagger or knife: formerly practiced in Japan by members of the warrior class when disgraced or sentenced to death.
2. any suicidal action; a self-destructive act: political hara-kiri.
[1855–60; < Japanese, =hara belly + kiri cut]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.seppuku - ritual suicide by self-disembowelment on a sword; practiced by samurai in the traditional Japanese society
self-annihilation, self-destruction, suicide - the act of killing yourself; "it is a crime to commit suicide"
Nihon, Nippon, Japan - a constitutional monarchy occupying the Japanese Archipelago; a world leader in electronics and automobile manufacture and ship building
References in periodicals archive ?
Outside of Japan, media depictions of suicide in the country frequently involve concepts of honour and disgrace, from 12th century samurai who committed seppuku - a ritualised form of self-disembowelment - to World War II kamikaze pilots who deliberately crashed into Allied ships.
Ritual suicide, known as seppuku or hara-kiri, has long been portrayed in movies and theater as an honorable way to take responsibility.
The possible reasons for this could also relate to that the military suicide considered to be honored in the Japanese soldiers such as Seppuku (cutting the abdomen) and Banzai Charge during the World War II.
In Kate Braverman's A Good Day for Seppuku, there are few joyous moments or emotional breakthroughs.
As Japan surrendered to the Allies, the founder of the Special Attack Units left a note of apology to the lost pilots and committed the ritual self-disembowelment known as seppuku.
Matt wonders if committing seppuku would absolve him of that last comment.
Since the POWs had either surrendered--an irredeemably dishonorable act--or allowed themselves to be captured, yet did not commit seppuku, it was the duty of honorable men to punish them.
The Japanese have an unforgettable term for this existential cut: seppuku, or ritual suicide.
Japanese overlord Shogun sentences benign ruler Lord Asano to commit suicide, seppuku, allowing Lord Kira to snatch both Asano's territory and his daughter Mika.
The most damaging came in 1663 when the practice of junshi, a form of seppuku (ritual self-disembowelment) performed by samurai upon the death of their lord, was outlawed.
Seppuku - ritual suicide - was part of the Samurai code, and Kamikaze pilots were seen as the bravest of the brave.
Of special interest is a section on cultural scripts for suicide: Russian roulette and duels, death by seppuku, self-immolation as protest, victim-precipitated homicide, sati, suicide by police, and suicide as liberation of the soul.