sep·​pu·​ku se-ˈpü-(ˌ)kü How to pronounce seppuku (audio)
: 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 Is the show's depiction of seppuku historically accurate? Megan McCluskey, TIME, 16 Apr. 2024 Well, the details are totally different — like, no one’s committing seppuku with swords nowadays — but the politics of it are very much relevant. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Mar. 2024 Beyond the characters, there’s the show’s consideration of seppuku. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 8 Mar. 2024 During a meeting of the Council of Regents, one of Toranaga's samurai crosses a line and is forced to pledge seppuku to defuse the situation. Nick Romano,, 21 Feb. 2024 Corporate seppuku: destroying your own product or brand. Ben Brasch, Washington Post, 24 July 2023 Letting out a loud scream, the samurai lifts his sword to decapitate Nobunaga, completing the warlord’s ritual suicide, or seppuku. Jacquelyne Germain, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2023 Ranmaru then also performed seppuku, asking Yasuke, in turn, to decapitate him. Jacquelyne Germain, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2023 Considering the state of discourse at Storrs, this is tantamount to academic seppuku. Aron Ravin, National Review, 3 Apr. 2022

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

Word History



First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of seppuku was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near seppuku

Cite this Entry

“Seppuku.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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