seize

verb
\ ˈsēz How to pronounce seize (audio) \
seized; seizing

Definition of seize

transitive verb

1a usually seise \ ˈsēz How to pronounce seise (audio) \ : to vest ownership of a freehold estate in
b often seise : to put in possession of something the biographer will be seized of all pertinent papers
2a : to take possession of : confiscate
b : to take possession of by legal process
3a : to possess or take by force : capture
b : to take prisoner : arrest
4a : to take hold of : clutch
b : to possess oneself of : grasp
c : to understand fully and distinctly : apprehend
5a : to attack or overwhelm physically : afflict seized with chest pains
b : to possess (someone's thoughts, mind, etc.) completely or overwhelmingly seized the popular imagination— Basil Davenport
6 : to bind or fasten together with a lashing of small stuff (such as yarn, marline, or fine wire)

intransitive verb

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 (such as bearings, brakes, or pistons)
b : to fail to operate due to the seizing of a part used of an engine

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Other Words from seize

seizer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for seize

take, seize, grasp, clutch, snatch, grab mean to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand. take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control. take some salad from the bowl seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible. seized the suspect grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession. grasp the handle and pull clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding. clutching her purse snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize. snatched a doughnut and ran grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch. grabbed roughly by the arm

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Doris T didn’t sink, but it was seized by Customs and Border Protection this spring. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 The 3000 prisoners seized by Americans represented many nationalities. Wes Gallagher, Houston Chronicle, "ALLIES GAIN IN NAZI-MADE FLOODS," 9 June 2019 Seawatch 3, as the boat is called, was seized by authorities for carrying 47 people, the Guardian reports. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Only one aid group’s rescue boat remains in the Mediterranean Sea to help shipwrecked refugees," 9 June 2019 The revelation was seized on by some conservative media outlets and social media pundits, who said the situation was tantamount to tax fraud — a charge Omar denied. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Ilhan Omar’s tax filings scrutinized. Here’s a timeline, including her marriage status.," 7 June 2019 Flames from burning military vehicles seized by protesters lit up the sky, and bodies were scattered in the streets. Washington Post, "AP Was There: Tanks rumble out of Tiananmen Square," 5 June 2019 But, at his death several years later, much of his secretive wartime accomplishments remained classified, far from public view in a nation seized by the security concerns of the Cold War. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Alan Turing, Condemned Code Breaker and Computer Visionary," 5 June 2019 My travails to snag it — risking it being seized by customs, overpaying sellers, weathering formula changes — surely rival those of the Arthurian knights who searched for their own Holy Grail in medieval lore. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The “best” lipstick probably won’t change your life — but the search for it can," 12 Dec. 2018 His political opponents across the spectrum are calling on French voters to seize the European elections to reject his government’s policies. Angela Charlton, The Seattle Times, "No more Mr Europe: Macron forced to curb EU ambitions," 20 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seize.' 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 seize

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for seize

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for seize

The first known use of seize was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for seize

seize

verb

English Language Learners 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

seize

verb
\ ˈsēz How to pronounce seize (audio) \
seized; seizing

Kids Definition of seize

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.
seized; seizing

Legal Definition of seize

1 or 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 forfeitureFederal 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

Other Words from seize

seizable adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on seize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seize

Spanish Central: Translation of seize

Nglish: Translation of seize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on seize

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