be·​siege | \ bi-ˈsēj How to pronounce besiege (audio) , bē- \
besieged; besieging

Definition of besiege

transitive verb

1 military : to surround with armed forces The army had besieged the castle.
2a : to press with requests : importune besieging the royal ministers with petitions …— T. B. Costain besieged by the media
b : to cause worry or distress to : beset doubts besieged him

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Other Words from besiege

besieger noun

Synonyms for besiege


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Examples of besiege in a Sentence

Customers have besieged the company with questions.
Recent Examples on the Web Many say the woes besieging the nation’s infrastructure have been compounded by the lack of toilet paper on store shelves, which is leading some to use paper towels, napkins or baby wipes instead. Michael Levenson, New York Times, "Americans Coping With the Coronavirus Are Clogging Toilets," 21 Mar. 2020 The National Guard has deployed 1,560 personnel across nearly half the country in a move meant to help besieged healthcare workers deal with the influx of coronavirus patients. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "National Guard deployments quadruple in four days since Trump declared emergency," 17 Mar. 2020 After one bloody skirmish, the surgeon Ambroise Paré had to dress the wounds of the soldiers who had been shot by the hackbuts of the besieged. John J. Ross, WSJ, "‘The Invention of Surgery’ Review: Honing Their Craft," 6 Mar. 2020 For years, Syria’s besieged province of Idlib has served as a final haven for those escaping forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "A disaster in Syria as Russia and Turkey clash," 19 Feb. 2020 The American two-party system has long been besieged. Alexander Cohen, The Conversation, "The two-party system is here to stay," 2 Mar. 2020 The company’s stock has long been besieged by short sellers, gambling that the company won’t achieve its goals. Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, "How Elon Musk went from sleeping in the factory to being on the cusp of launching a crew into space," 21 Feb. 2020 A century after Lu Xun imagined the suffocations of the iron house, China is besieged by a modern crisis of body and spirit, an epidemic that has threatened its people and underscored the perils of a suffocating politics. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "China’s ‘Iron House’: Struggling Over Silence in the Coronavirus Epidemic," 12 Feb. 2020 Hospitals in Wuhan are besieged by the sick, and only a handful of clinics are able to test for the disease. Time, "Viral Outbreaks Are Here to Stay. This Is How Humans Will Fight Back," 30 Jan. 2020

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

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First Known Use of besiege

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of besiege was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

24 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Besiege.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for besiege


How to pronounce besiege (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of besiege

: to surround a city, building, etc., with soldiers and try to take control of it
: to gather around (someone) in a way that is aggressive, annoying, etc.
: to overwhelm (someone) with too many questions or requests for things


be·​siege | \ bi-ˈsēj How to pronounce besiege (audio) \
besieged; besieging

Kids Definition of besiege

1 : to surround with armed forces for the purpose of capturing The army besieged the castle.
2 : to crowd around The movie star was besieged by photographers.
3 : to overwhelm with questions or requests … the monks around me besieged me with eager questions …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

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More from Merriam-Webster on besiege

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for besiege

Spanish Central: Translation of besiege

Nglish: Translation of besiege for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of besiege for Arabic Speakers

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