cause célèbre


cause cé·​lè·​bre ˌkȯz-sə-ˈleb How to pronounce cause célèbre (audio)
variants or less commonly cause celebre
plural causes célèbres also causes celebres
 How to pronounce cause célèbre (audio)
: a legal case that excites widespread interest
: a notorious person, thing, incident, or episode

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 Opposition to non-compete agreements has become a new cause celebre on the left. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2023 Since then, his fortunes apparently have changed and Floyd has become a something of a cause celebre in conservative circles. Chris Joyner, ajc, 29 Aug. 2023 Mitnick became a cause celebre for hackers who considered his 5-year prison term excessive. Time, 21 July 2023 His feud with the Commonwealth has turned him into cause celebre in conservative circles and has even put him on a new career path. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2022 Recently, a few pets have become cause celebre when their X-ray images went viral. Andrea Sachs, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Feb. 2023 The larger message of this incident is a sad one: Even if men in power make a cause celebre out of the work a woman is doing—even if that entails a personal or professional sacrifice—material support like a raise, or a promotion, still might not reach her. Katie Hafner, Scientific American, 23 Dec. 2021 The case became a cause celebre from 1951 to 1953, and led to years of travel and trade embargoes between the U.S. and Czechoslovakia, which was then strictly controlled by the Soviet Union. Bill Kovarik, Fortune, 6 Apr. 2023 The protest, which has become a cause celebre for the U.S. right, has spurred several other solidarity protests, including at the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest land border crossing on the U.S.-Canada border, and Coutts, Alberta, another important crossing. Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cause célèbre.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, celebrated case

First Known Use

1763, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cause célèbre was in 1763

Dictionary Entries Near cause célèbre

Cite this Entry

“Cause célèbre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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