Simple Definition of beleaguer
: to cause constant or repeated trouble for (a person, business, etc.)
Examples of beleaguer in a sentence
the lack of funds that beleaguers schools
<beleaguered the castle for months>
Did You Know?
English speakers created "beleaguer" from the Dutch word belegeren in the 16th century. "[Military men] will not vouchsafe . . . to use our ancient terms belonging to matters of war, but do call a camp by the Dutch name," commented the English soldier and diplomat Sir John Smyth in 1590. The word for "camp" that he was referring to is "leaguer." That term in turn comes from Dutch "leger," which is one of the building blocks of "belegeren" (literally, "to camp around"). But neither "leaguer" nor "beleaguer" were in fact utterly foreign. Old English "leger," the source of our modern "lair," is related to the Dutch word. And the Old English "be-" ("about, around"), as seen in "besiege" and "beset," is related to the Dutch prefix be- in "belegeren."
Origin of beleaguer
Dutch belegeren, from be- (akin to Old English be-) + leger camp; akin to Old High German legar bed — more at lair
First Known Use: 1587
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