An offense committed against a sovereign power (this would include both kings and elected governments), particularly one which affronts the dignity or sense of self-importance of this sovereign power. Lèse-majesté describes both intentional and unintentional offenses.

The term would begin to take on an ironic or even sarcastic meaning when the supposed offense is unreasonably manufactured in the mind of the sovereign, as seen in the example below.
"This wrong sort of Sunnis, known as the Muslim Brotherhood, commits the ultimate lèse-majesté of believing in the ballot box as a source of authority rather than royal lineage." Source: New York Times, opinion page, article titled "A Middle East Primer", dated 31 Jan 2014
by Cristina Y February 14, 2014

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