Definition of casus belli in English:

Share this entry

casus belli

Pronunciation: /ˌkeɪsəs ˈbɛlʌɪ/
Pronunciation: /ˌkɑːsʊs ˈbɛli/

noun (plural same)

An act or situation that provokes or justifies a war.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • France countered by getting Russia to propose a general congress, intended to isolate Austria and provoke a casus belli.
  • The failure to disarm is probably a casus belli.


Latin, from casus (see case1) and belli, genitive of bellum 'war'.

Words that rhyme with casus belli

belly, Botticelli, Corelli, Delhi, deli, Ellie, Grappelli, jelly, Kelly, lamellae, Machiavelli, Mahaweli, Schiaparelli, Shelley, shelly, smelly, tagliatelle, telly, Torricelli, vermicelli, welly, Zeffirelli

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: casus belli

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.