Word of the Day

Thursday, June 27, 2013

lese majesty

\LEZ MAJ-uh-stee, LEEZ-\ , noun;
Law. a. a crime, especially high treason, committed against the sovereign power. b. an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler.
an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people: Her speech against Mother's Day was criticized as lese majesty.
“Little brother, if you're going to commit lese majesty, never do it by messenger. I'd have to execute him too, and it's wasteful.”
-- Harry Turtledove, The Misplaced Legion, 1987
His father was what you call an agitator, and his father was in jail for lese majesty—what you call speaking the truth about the Emperor.
-- Jack London, The Iron Heel, 1908
This term, which entered English in the 1400s, comes from the Latin laesa majestos, which literally means "violated majesty."
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