cause cé·lè·bre / ˈkôz səˈleb(rə); ˈkōz/ • n. (pl. causes cé·lè·bres pronunc. same) a controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention.
[French, famous case.] A trial or lawsuit in which the subject matter or a participant is particularly newsworthy, unusual, or sensational and that typically attracts a great deal of media attention. For example, the case of Scott Peterson, accused of the murder of his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, was a cause célèbre in 2003.