One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An act or situation that provokes or justifies a war.
- ‘Modern wars require a pretext, a casus belli that can be packaged to the public as a sufficient justification for the resort to arms.’
- ‘If a state launched it, it would be an obvious casus belli and the state officers could expect to meet the world's most powerful nation in all-out war.’
- ‘France countered by getting Russia to propose a general congress, intended to isolate Austria and provoke a casus belli.’
- ‘This feeling has been particularly pronounced in Poland, which after all had been the casus belli for the Second World War.’
- ‘It used to be one of those fussy old constitutional conventions that, when a prime minister lied to the nation over something so serious as a casus belli, his resignation was a foregone conclusion.’
- ‘So we accept that there are legitimate casus belli: acts or situations, ‘provoking or justifying war’.’
- ‘German violation of the neutrality of Belgium, which since 1839 had been under the protection of the great powers, was for Britain the formal casus belli.’
- ‘While retaliatory war relies on the obvious fact of an attack as its casus belli, pre-emptive war opens the door to myriad other justifications.’
- ‘The assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by a Serbian nationalist was an act of quasi-regicide that no monarchy could regard as other than a casus belli.’
- ‘As the Romans liked a casus belli to justify their aggressive activities, it is not always possible to be certain about the real circumstances behind their intervention.’
- ‘Neither one of these, do I think, fall into the category that I would describe as threatening enough to be what I would describe as a casus belli.’
- ‘Various casus belli are served up as conditions change.’
- ‘It wants a proper casus belli established ahead of the fight.’
- ‘The failure to disarm is probably a casus belli.’
- ‘He unequivocally presented it as the casus belli.’
- ‘This must be the first example of casus belli (a cause justifying war) being discovered after the war has ended.’
- ‘What was lacking was a suitable pretext, a casus belli.’
- ‘The purpose was to provoke a response that could become a casus belli for invasion.’
Latin, from casus (see case) and belli, genitive of bellum ‘war’.
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