One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practiced in Japan by samurai as an honorable alternative to disgrace or execution.
self-destruction, taking one's own life, self-murder, self-slaughter, felo de seView synonyms
- ‘This man, a superior samurai named Yogo Zenemon, has been ordered by the lord, for his own reasons, to commit hara-kiri, or ritualistic suicide by disembowelment.’
- ‘A frequent reason for committing hara-kiri was in a lost battle to avoid the disgrace of falling into the hands of an enemy.’
- ‘In the final, disarmingly quiet scene of The Sun, the emperor is informed that the young sound technician who recorded his speech of renunciation has committed hara-kiri.’
- ‘The Japanese commander, Saito, committed hara-kiri and left his troops without leadership.’
- ‘Yet every time Tariana Turia tried it, the worm all but committed hara-kiri.’
- ‘Nagase said he had also hoped to meet an elderly female resident in the area who had reportedly said her wartime lover, a Japanese soldier, had committed hara-kiri there.’
- ‘But hopefully with my advice you won't be reduced to returning home in a depressed state and committing hara-kiri in your bathtub.’
- ‘Now the question could well be, ‘Do you want me to commit hara-kiri?’’
- ‘Alejandro Ferretis plays a middle-aged painter who has retired to a secluded and primitive village to commit suicide (this hara-kiri is perhaps a key to the enigmatic title).’
- ‘I had in my mind the spectacle of Okinawa island, where many thousands of Japanese, rather than surrender, had drawn up in line and destroyed themselves by hand-grenades after their leaders had solemnly performed the rite of hara-kiri.’
- ‘When Pinkerton finally reappears, bringing his American wife with him, Butterfly bids a desperate farewell to her boy before retiring behind a screen to commit hara-kiri.’
- ‘After earnest consideration, the ronin were ordered to commit hara-kiri.’
- ‘He would probably have been compelled to commit punk hara-kiri by impaling himself on a winklepicker.’
- ‘He was recovering his health after a hara-kiri attempt.’
- ‘Disgrace and defeat were atoned by committing hara-kiri or seppuku.’
- ‘He even pledged he would commit hara-kiri if he could not offer evidence of this five days before polling day.’
- ‘The day after the surrender, he committed hara-kiri or suicide.’
- ‘‘A samurai apologises for his sins by performing hara-kiri,’ Mr Nambu told the Japan Times.’
- ‘Goaded by Kira, Asana draws his sword inside the Shogun's castle, an act prohibited by law, and is forced to commit hara-kiri, leaving his family and samurai retainers dishonored.’
- ‘After failing to launch a right-wing military coup in 1970, he committed hara-kiri, ritually disembowelling himself before being decapitated by an assistant.’
Mid 19th century: colloquial Japanese, from hara ‘belly’ + kiri ‘cutting’.
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