Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More

February 22, 2007

Word of the Day

  • lèse-majesté
  • audio pronunciation
  • \layz-MAJ-uh-stee\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
a : a crime (as treason) committed against a sovereign power b : an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power
2
: a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance
  • EXAMPLES

Some family members view Ty's criticism of his grandfather as an act of lèse-majesté.

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Lèse-majesté" (or "lese majesty," as it is also styled in English publications) comes into English by way of Middle French, from the Latin "laesa majestas," which literally means "injured majesty." The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. "Lèse-majesté" has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, that of an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.

*Indicates the sense illustrated by the example sentence.

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE
  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account