cause célèbre

cause cé·​lè·​bre | \ ˌkȯz-sə-ˈleb How to pronounce cause célèbre (audio) , -ˈle-brə, ˌkōz-, -ˈlebrᵊ \
variants: or less commonly cause celebre
plural causes célèbres also causes celebres\ same  How to pronounce causes celebres (audio) \

Definition of cause célèbre

1 : a legal case that excites widespread interest
2 : a notorious person, thing, incident, or episode

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of cause célèbre in a Sentence

a cause célèbre from some reality TV show whose fame hadn't even lasted the proverbial 15 minutes
Recent Examples on the Web An elephant who has become a cause celebre for animal rights activists around the world will be allowed to leave his Pakistani zoo and transferred to better conditions, the animal welfare group helping with the case said Saturday., "‘World’s Loneliest Elephant’ Okayed to Quit Zoo for New Life," 5 Sep. 2020 Since the Kenosha shooting, Pierce said he has been consumed with his work on behalf of Rittenhouse, who has become a cause celebre for some on the right. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Lawyer of accused Kenosha shooter has troubled financial past, steps away from defense fund that raised $700K," 5 Sep. 2020 Sharpton had done his best to make the episode a cause celebre by leading demonstrations. Washington Post, "Live updates: Officials apologize after Black reporter arrested covering Proud Boys rally," 17 Aug. 2020 By then, the case was becoming a cause celebre in British politics, driven by the suspicion that, had the Lawrences been White, the police would have treated it completely differently. Robert Hutton,, "Police End Stephen Lawrence Murder Probe That Showed U.K. Racism," 11 Aug. 2020 Her story became a cause celebre among advocates of criminal justice reform, including Kardashian West, who has become a force in the world of criminal justice reform. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Child sex trafficking survivor supported by Kim Kardashian West freed from jail," 22 Apr. 2020 Owner Shelley Luther has become a cause celebre for conservative politicians. Dallas News, "Ted Cruz heads to Shelley Luther’s Dallas salon, to show solidarity and get first haircut in months," 8 May 2020 Khadr, who spent a decade at Guantanamo before being transferred to a Canadian prison and released in 2015, became a cause celebre for critics of America’s tactics in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, "‘No one just goes hiking in Afghanistan’: American woman gave birth as a Taliban hostage. Now she seeks to end her mystery.," 23 Aug. 2019 The new, blue Orange County is a cause celebre among Democratic presidential candidates. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "In newly blue Orange County, Democrats struggle over how far left is too far," 2 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cause célèbre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cause célèbre

1763, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cause célèbre

French, literally, celebrated case

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cause célèbre

Time Traveler for cause célèbre

Time Traveler

The first known use of cause célèbre was in 1763

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cause célèbre

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cause célèbre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cause célèbre

cause célèbre

How to pronounce cause célèbre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cause célèbre

formal : a legal case or an event that a lot of people become interested in

More from Merriam-Webster on cause célèbre

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cause célèbre

Comments on cause célèbre

What made you want to look up cause célèbre? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!