felo de se

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See also: felo-de-se



From Latin felō (felon) (of) (himself).


felo de se (uncountable)

  1. A crime committed against oneself, in particular suicide
    Synonym: suicide
    • 1776, Thomas Paine, Common Sense - Chapter 1 - Page 7-8:
      How came the king by a power which the people are afraid to trust, and always obliged to check? Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people, neither can any power, which needs checking, be from God; yet the provision, which the constitution makes, supposes such a power to exist. But the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot or will not accomplish the end, and the whole affair is a felo de se; for as the greater weight will always carry up the less, and as all the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to know which power in the constitution has the most weight, for that will govern; and though the others, or a part of them, may clog, or, as the phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, yet so long as they cannot stop it, their endeavors will be ineffectual; the first moving power will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed is supplied by time.
    • 1779, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Critic: or, A Tragedy Rehearsed:
      Sneer. And you bore all with patience, I make no doubt?
      Puff. Why, yes—tho’ I made ſome occaſional attempts at felo de ſe; but as I did not find thoſe raſh actions anſwer, I left off killing myſelf very ſoon.
    • 1822, Lord Byron, The Vision of Judgement, stanza 94:
      The Varlet was not an ill-favoured knave;
      A good deal like a Vulture in the face
      With a hook nose and a Hawk’s eye which gave
      A smart & sharper-looking sort of grace
      To his whole aspect, which though rather grave
      Was by no means so ugly as his case,
      But that indeed was hopeless as can be—
      Quite a poetic felony “de se.”