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 Last year, authorities seized 430 kilograms worth around $17 million. Fox News, "Portugal seizes cocaine worth $33M hidden in banana shipment from Latin America," 9 Jan. 2020 The Shias, who had been politically excluded under Hussein's Sunni rule, seized the opportunity and dominated the post-war Iraqi government. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "5 things you need to know to understand the Iran-US crisis," 8 Jan. 2020 Then, suddenly, the president changed his mind and seized a new moment, opting for a massive escalation by killing Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s most important general. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "As with Everything Else, Trump Is Following His Gut on Iran," 8 Jan. 2020 General Hifter’s forces seized the coastal city of Surt on Monday. New York Times, "Russia and Turkey Make Joint Call for Cease-Fire in Libya," 8 Jan. 2020 Customs agents there seized around 50 tons of cocaine in 2018, 22% more than in 2017 and six times more than in 2013. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Global Shipping Faces Troubling New Smuggling Questions," 6 Jan. 2020 Democrats, who have said Bolton’s testimony is crucial to the impeachment inquiry, quickly seized on the unexpected statement to press for witnesses at the trial. Time, "Bolton’s Offer to Give Impeachment Testimony Catches Congress, White House By Surprise," 6 Jan. 2020 With even landlines down, and banks closed and ATMs empty, the cashless economy in some areas seized up, according to fire brigade officials. Washington Post, "Thousands flee Australia’s coastal towns as raging wildfires close in," 2 Jan. 2020 Bridgewater seized the opportunity to keep the season afloat, with New Orleans winning all five games without Brees. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: From Lamar Jackson to Antonio Brown, highlighting best and worst of 2019 NFL season," 27 Dec. 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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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

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Seize.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seizer. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for seize

seize

verb
How to pronounce seize (audio)

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

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