seize

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

Definition of seize

transitive verb

1a usually seise \ ˈsēz How to pronounce seize (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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Girardi’s famed firm, Girardi Keese, has moved to seize a pair of diamond stud earrings, with plans to sell them to compensate cheated clients and other creditors. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 4 Aug. 2022 Every year, American wildlife inspectors seize thousands of shark fins while in transit to Asia for failing to declare the shipments. Joshua Goodman, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Aug. 2022 Every year, American wildlife inspectors seize thousands of shark fins while in transit to Asia for failing to declare the shipments. CBS News, 2 Aug. 2022 Every year, American wildlife inspectors seize thousands of shark fins while in transit to Asia for failing to declare the shipments. Joshua Goodman, Sun Sentinel, 2 Aug. 2022 Indeed, Russia’s initial strategy was to overwhelm Ukrainian defense forces, seize Kiev, and force the government to capitulate. Vikram Mittal, Forbes, 31 July 2022 When preeclampsia isn't controlled, the mother can seize and the fetus can die, Minkin says. Vanessa Etienne, PEOPLE.com, 22 July 2022 In most of them, including Arizona, the community-property principle extends to debt: creditors can seize the community property of both spouses, or even garnish their wages, to collect on the debts of one. Michael Waters, The New Yorker, 12 July 2022 The department’s no-chase policy prohibits officers from pursuing the riders, but police can still seize and impound the vehicles. Omari Daniels, Washington Post, 9 July 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for seize

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near seize

sei whale

seize

seize hold of

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Statistics for seize

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seize. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for seize

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.

seize

transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on seize

Nglish: Translation of seize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seize for Arabic Speakers

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