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

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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 Banks can freeze their assets and police can seize their assets. Washington Post, "Canadian chapter of the Proud Boys, designated a terrorist group by the government, says it has ‘dissolved’," 3 May 2021 Time to wriggle out of your cozy sleeping sock and seize the day, like this little chick has. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for April 30: Coronavirus, police reform, security hacks, Afghanistan, Israel," 30 Apr. 2021 But in the annals of history, picks up and down the draft board seize the glory. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU football's NFL Draft history proves gems can be found after the first round," 29 Apr. 2021 In its briefs presented to the Supreme Court, New Jersey concedes that the Constitution does allow the federal government to condemn and seize state property. Christopher Helman, Forbes, "In ‘PennEast’ Case, SCOTUS Will Decide The Future Of America’s Pipeline Development," 27 Apr. 2021 In this strategy conquest game, players must build an army and seize their opponents’ territories after defeating them in battle. Morgan Greenwald, NBC News, "12 fun board games for adults 2021," 15 Apr. 2021 Only then can the debt collector garnish a debtor’s wages or seize other assets, Leyton said. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Oakland County lawyers charged with skirting laws in debt-collection scheme," 7 Apr. 2021 Only in extremely rare cases will the IRS try and seize a house — less than 1% of cases in each of these years. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Delegate Nick Mosby won’t talk about his $45,000 federal tax lien; no indication it’s been paid off," 23 Oct. 2020 In certain circumstances, an officer might even temporarily seize your phone and get a search warrant to go through it. Washington Post, "You have the right to film police. Here’s how to do it effectively — and safely.," 22 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for seize

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for seize

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Seize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seize. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on seize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for seize

Nglish: Translation of seize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seize for Arabic Speakers

Comments on seize

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