ˌher-i-ˈkir-ē How to pronounce hara-kiri (audio)
variants or less commonly hari-kari
: ritual suicide by disembowelment practiced by the Japanese samurai or formerly decreed by a court in lieu of the death penalty

Examples of hara-kiri in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The film depicts the historical ‘Honno-ji Incident’ from 1582, when a key vassal of Oda Nobunaga rose in revolt and caused his master to commit hara-kiri in Kyoto. Mark Schilling, Variety, 17 Apr. 2023

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

Word History


Japanese harakiri, from hara belly + kiri cutting

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hara-kiri was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near hara-kiri

Cite this Entry

“Hara-kiri.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hara-kiri. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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