Simple Definition of seize
: to use legal or official power to take (something)
: to get or take (something) in a forceful, sudden, or violent way
: to attack and take control of (a place) by force or violence
Full Definition of seize
1a usually seise play \ˈsēz\ : to vest ownership of a freehold estate inb often seise : to put in possession of something <the biographer will be seized of all pertinent papers>
2a : to take possession of : confiscateb : to take possession of by legal process
5a : to attack or overwhelm physically : afflict <seized with chest pains>b : to possess (as one's mind) completely or overwhelmingly <seized the popular imagination — Basil Davenport>
6 : to bind or fasten together with a lashing of small stuff (as yarn, marline, or fine wire)
1 : to take or lay hold suddenly or forcibly
2a : to cohere to a relatively moving part through excessive pressure, temperature, or friction —used especially of machine parts (as bearings, brakes, or pistons)b : to fail to operate due to the seizing of a part —used of an engine
Examples of seize in a sentence
The bank seized their property.
The army has seized control of the city.
A rebel group attempted to seize power.
He suddenly seized the lead in the final lap of the race.
He seized her by the arm.
He tried to seize the gun from him.
She was seized by kidnappers and carried off to a hidden location.
He seized the chance to present his ideas to his boss.
Seizing the moment, she introduced herself to the famous film director.
Origin and Etymology of seize
Middle English saisen, from Anglo-French seisir, from Medieval Latin sacire, of Germanic origin; perhaps akin to Old High German sezzen to set — more at set
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of seize
SEIZE Defined for Kids
Definition of seize for Students
1 : to take possession of by or as if by force <Invaders seized the castle.> <He seized the lead.>
2 : to take hold of suddenly or with force <… Balin was just in time to seize the boat before it floated off … — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit>
3 : to take or use eagerly or quickly <She seized the opportunity to go.>
Legal Definition of seize
seise: to put in possession of property or vest with the right of possession or succession <stand seized of land>
2 : to take possession or custody of (property) especially by lawful authority <seize drugs as evidence> <the entry of a preliminary order of forfeiture authorizes the Attorney General…to seize the specific property subject to forfeiture — Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32.2(b)(3)> <can seize the goods subject to his security interest and…keep them in satisfaction of the debt — J. J. White and R. S. Summers> — compare foreclose, repossess
3 : to detain (a person) in such circumstances as would lead a reasonable person to believe that he or she was not free to leave <determined that the defendant was seized when surrounded by police officers>
Seen and Heard
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