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

Soames, 71, voted to allow Parliament to seize control of the order paper and legislate to prevent such a split. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Winston Churchill's grandson expelled from Conservative Party by Boris Johnson in wake of Brexit crisis," 4 Sep. 2019 That came to an abrupt end Tuesday night as rebellious lawmakers voted 328 to 301 to seize control of the Brexit agenda. Washington Post, "Defiant UK lawmakers move to bar ‘no deal’ Brexit," 4 Sep. 2019 Passing such a law would require John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, to allow the rebels to seize control of the parliamentary calendar. NBC News, "Brexit: British Parliament prepares last-ditch fight with Boris Johnson," 2 Sep. 2019 Legendary hit man John Wick comes out of retirement when a former associate plots to seize control of an international assassins’ guild. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 Key moments With Sunnyslope suddenly ahead after Niko Haen hit twin brother David for a 5-yard TD in the third, Notre Dame seized control. Danny Shapiro, azcentral, "Arizona high school football Week 2: Game results from around the Valley," 30 Aug. 2019 Unclaimed property laws date back to feudal England, when the Crown was quick to seize control of land owned by citizens who had no heirs. Michael Waters, The Atlantic, "What Happens to All Those Unused Gift Cards," 27 Aug. 2019 The game's offensive breakthrough came in the fifth inning for Louisiana as the club representing the Southwest region scored four runs on four hits to seize control. CBS News, "Louisiana beats Curacao 8-0 to win Little League World Series," 26 Aug. 2019 After starting the match with three spares, O’Keefe followed with four strikes in a row to seize control. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Reigning Player of Year captures PWBA Orlando Open at Boardwalk Bowl," 17 Aug. 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

7 Sep 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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