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 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, "The Way of the Shogun," 9 July 2020 Not apology, not suspension — only ritual electronic seppuku would suffice? Kyle Smith, National Review, "‘Grow Up’ vs. ‘Me Too’," 9 Mar. 2020 Yet the past week has shown that Trump is, in fact, serious about trying to commit superpower seppuku. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Trump-Putin meeting reveals how Trump is killing American power.," 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, "Westworld: From Cradle to Grave," 28 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of seppuku

1870, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for seppuku


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Time Traveler for seppuku

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The first known use of seppuku was in 1870

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Cite this Entry

“Seppuku.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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