hara-kiri

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Japanese 腹切り (はらきり (harakiri)). From (belly) (はら (hara)) + 切る (cut) (きる (kiru)).

Noun[edit]

hara-kiri (uncountable)

  1. Ceremonial suicide by disembowelment, as by slicing open the abdomen with a dagger or knife: formerly practised in Japan by the Samurai when disgraced or sentenced to death.
    • 1899, William George Aston, A History of Japanese Literature, page 231
      On the downfall of his power in 1867 he was urged by one of his Council to save the honour of his family by a voluntary suicide. He flatly refused to do so and left the room, whereupon his faithful adviser retired to another part of the castle and solemnly performed the hara-kiri.
  2. Suicide or any suicidal action.
  3. (by extension, figuratively) An act against one's own interests.
    • 1982–1983, Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties,[1] revised and printed as [] to the Nineties, HarperCollins (2001), ISBN 978-0-06-093550-4, page 393:
      Regarded logically, therefore, Japan’s decision to go to war made no sense. It was hara-kiri.
    • 1987, in The Economist, Volume 304, Issues 7505–7513,[2] page 1:
      They are haunted by the spectre of the 1984 election, when Mr Walter Mondale committed hara-kiri by acknowledging the need to raise taxes if America were to get its economy straight.
    • 2008 April 5, Anurag Prasad, “Virgin Territory”, in Outlook Business, Volume 3, Number 7, page 50:
      But with GSM players lobbying hard for more spectrum, taking MVNOs on board now would be hara-kiri.

Synonyms[edit]

  • (ceremonial suicide by ripping open the abdomen): seppuku

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French[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

hara-kiri m (plural hara-kiris)

  1. hara-kiri (suicide by ripping open the stomach)

See also[edit]

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