sep·​pu·​ku | \ se-ˈpü-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce seppuku (audio) , ˈse-pə-ˌkü \

Definition of seppuku

: hara-kiri sense 1 Mishima went back into the building, knelt on the floor and disemboweled himself with a samurai dagger in the ancient rite of seppuku.— Tracy Dahlby Seppuku remains a favorite theme in dramas and movies but has virtually disappeared from real life.— Edwin O. Reischauer

Examples of seppuku in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Considering the state of discourse at Storrs, this is tantamount to academic seppuku. Aron Ravin, National Review, 3 Apr. 2022 This estranged Hayakawa from his father, who was ashamed of Hayakawa’s failure, and eventually led to Hayakawa attempting his samurai family’s tradition of seppuku. Jennifer Li,, 8 Sep. 2021 On the same day of June 21, 1582, Nobutada also performed seppuku. Kat Moon, Time, 30 Apr. 2021 Luckily, the Japanese have a passion for history, with their television full of splendid period dramas and anime depictions of ancient stories, complete with passionate love affairs, betrayals, murder plots and seppuku, ritual suicides. Hiroshi Okamoto, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 July 2020 Not apology, not suspension — only ritual electronic seppuku would suffice? Kyle Smith, National Review, 9 Mar. 2020 Yet the past week has shown that Trump is, in fact, serious about trying to commit superpower seppuku. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, 16 July 2018 Westworld was still able to get away wit broad clichés, like the defeated samurai committing seppuku and the awe-inspiring sight of Mount Fuji, because the idea is that this whole plotline was cooked up by Lee Sizemore, hack supreme. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 28 May 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of seppuku

1870, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for seppuku


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The first known use of seppuku was in 1870

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Last Updated

10 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seppuku.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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