beleaguer was our Word of the Day on 12/29/2016. Hear the podcast!
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 and Etymology 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
BELEAGUER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of beleaguer for English Language Learners
: to cause constant or repeated trouble for (a person, business, etc.)
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up beleaguer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).