Definition of cause célèbre in English:

cause célèbre

noun

  • A controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention:

    ‘suddenly, saving the station's architectural integrity became a cause célèbre’
    • ‘In both these cases, the principal weapon it used was the judicial cause célèbre that dramatically highlighted an individual case of persecution and injustice before the ‘tribunal of public opinion’.’
    • ‘But it was thanks to Weng Weihua, a determined defence lawyer, and the South China Weekend News, a campaigning newspaper, that Ma's plight turned into a national cause célèbre.’
    • ‘Both regional and national newspapers carried political information and commentary, including reports on events in Parliament, the military and diplomatic affairs of Europe, and causes célèbres such as the John Wilkes saga.’
    • ‘The Texas decision was hailed by the fundamentalist Christian right, which has made public displays of the Ten Commandments a cause célèbre.’
    • ‘The prosecution in what became a national cause célèbre was led by William Jennings Bryan, the great Democrat populist, who rested his case on three claims.’
    • ‘Civil liberties groups try periodically to make internment a cause célèbre, but find few takers.’
    • ‘It became a cause célèbre, a controversy and it involved tick-tack of a very competitive nature between the judicial and legislative arms of government in that country.’
    • ‘The case became a cause célèbre in Israel and clearly posed a dilemma for the High Court, as it took five years for it to hear the case and reach a decision.’
    • ‘The orphan assets of Axa Sun Life became something of a cause célèbre several years ago.’
    • ‘Eventually the dispute became such a cause célèbre that a delegation of strikers headed by their leading shop steward, Rose Boland, was invited to tea in Whitehall with the then employment secretary, Barbara Castle.’
    • ‘They find help along the way from various strangers, some aboriginal, some white, their lengthy journey making them into causes célèbres while en route.’
    • ‘The Shackled Continent mostly side-steps the leftist cause célèbre of debt relief, focusing instead on the elixir of free trade.’
    • ‘The hospital, whose 70,000 potential clients ranged from homeless crack addicts to the governor of Pennsylvania, has become a local cause célèbre.’
    • ‘The job of the singer/songwriter is to try to reflect the world around him, and obviously the global justice movement has been the big cause célèbre since Seattle.’
    • ‘Plautus was one of the causes célèbres of Renaissance humanism, admired for his witty and vivacious style and for the intricacy of his comic plots.’
    • ‘The failure inspired serious disappointment in Britain, and the issue of the reserves became a cause célèbre.’
    • ‘They are the cause célèbre for men who feel disempowered by current social and legal norms and practice concerning marriage, divorce, sex and reproduction, and want to reassert control.’
    • ‘But vice president Ronald Dagon, 45, says demand has increased since the fairly ordinary Swiss white wine became a cause célèbre.’
    • ‘She became a cause célèbre last year after she was charged in connection with allegations that she made cannabis-laced chocolates and sent them to fellow multiple sclerosis sufferers.’
    • ‘A year later, when the administration took water from the fish and gave it to farmers, the salmon kill made the river a cause célèbre for environmental groups.’
    disagreement, dispute, argument, debate, dissension, contention, disputation, altercation, wrangle, quarrel, squabble, war of words, storm
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Origin

Mid 18th century: French, literally famous case.

Pronunciation:

cause célèbre

/ˌkɔːz sɛˈlɛbr(ə)/