1. Also called seppuku. ceremonial suicide by ripping open the abdomen with a dagger or knife: formerly practiced in Japan by members of the warrior class when disgraced or sentenced to death.
  2. suicide or any suicidal action; a self-destructive act: political hara-kiri.


  1. (formerly, in Japan) ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword when disgraced or under sentence of deathAlso called: seppuku

“suicide by disembowelment,” 1856, from Japanese, literally “belly-cutting,” the colloquial word for what is formally called seppuku “cut open the stomach;” from hara “belly” + kiri “to cut.”

A ritual of suicide, associated with warriors in traditional Japanese society.

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