be·​lea·​guer | \ bi-ˈlē-gər How to pronounce beleaguer (audio) , bē- \
beleaguered; beleaguering\ bi-​ˈlē-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce beleaguer (audio) , bē-​ \

Definition of beleaguer

transitive verb

1 : besiege a town beleaguered by an army a beleaguered city
2 : trouble, harass beleaguered parents an economically beleaguered city

Other Words from beleaguer

beleaguerment \ bi-​ˈlē-​gər-​mənt How to pronounce beleaguer (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Synonyms for beleaguer


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Beleaguer comes from the Dutch word belegeren. Leger means "camp" and the prefix be- means "about" or "around." Belegeren, by definition, is a neutral verb ("to camp around"); however, beleaguer implies trouble. It is also synonymous with besiege.

Examples of beleaguer in a Sentence

the lack of funds that beleaguers schools beleaguered the castle for months
Recent Examples on the Web In the clinical world, consistency is king; gaps in data can blight the reliability of any takeaways, or beleaguer analysis. Grace Browne, Wired, 14 Mar. 2022 American officials have felt an affinity for officials in Taipei for decades, a natural sense of solidarity with a democratic government beleaguered by a communist regime. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, 22 May 2020 Many Indians obeyed the rules, wary of catching the virus and not trusting India’s beleaguered health care system to save them. New York Times, 6 May 2020 The program aims to compensate for service cuts in San Francisco’s mass transit systems, while providing a boost for the city’s beleaguered taxi industry. Chronicle Staff,, 29 Apr. 2020 The disease also threatens the fragile political turmoil that has beleaguered the country for almost six years. Fox News, 20 Mar. 2020 The flat $600 federal payout was a recognition from Congress that state unemployment systems were going to be beleaguered with millions of new unemployment claims — including many from people who traditionally don’t qualify, such as gig workers. Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2020 Maryland Annapolis: Four additional residents at a nursing home beleaguered by more than 100 positive cases of COVID-19 have died, local health officials announced. USA TODAY, 6 Apr. 2020 The response has drawn praise for Big Tech companies, who have long been beleaguered by criticism about privacy violations, harassment and misinformation on their platforms, and other problems. Erin Brodwin, STAT, 1 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'beleaguer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of beleaguer

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for beleaguer

Dutch belegeren, from be- (akin to Old English be-) + leger camp; akin to Old High German legar bed — more at lair

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The first known use of beleaguer was in 1587

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Cite this Entry

“Beleaguer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on beleaguer

Nglish: Translation of beleaguer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of beleaguer for Arabic Speakers


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