casus belli

casus belli

[key-suhs bel-ahy, bel-ee; Latin kah-soos bel-lee]
noun, plural casus belli [key-suhs bel-ahy, bel-ee; Latin kah-soos bel-lee] .
an event or political occurrence that brings about a declaration of war.

Origin:
1840–50; < Neo-Latin: literally, occurrence of war

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World English Dictionary
casus belli (ˈkɑːsʊs ˈbɛliː)
 
n , pl casus belli
1.  an event or act used to justify a war
2.  the immediate cause of a quarrel
 
[literally: occasion of war]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

casus belli
1849, from L. casus "case" + belli, gen. of bellum "war." An act justifying war.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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