se·​ques·​ter | \ si-ˈkwe-stər How to pronounce sequester (audio) \
sequestered; sequestering\ si-​ˈkwe-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce sequester (audio) \

Definition of sequester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to set apart : segregate sequester a jury
b : seclude, withdraw widely spaced homes are forbiddingly grand and sequestered— Don Asher
2a : to seize especially by a writ of sequestration
b : to place (property) in custody especially in sequestration
3 : to bind (a metal or metal ion) in the form of a soluble complex or chelate by adding a suitable reagent for the purpose of preventing precipitation in water solution by chemical agents that would normally bring it about, of solubilizing precipitates already formed, or of otherwise suppressing undesired chemical or biological activity sequester calcium and magnesium ions in the softening of hard water also : to bind or absorb (carbon dioxide) as part of a larger chemical process or compound … half of the starting material will be used up and half will be char. That can then be put back on the fields, where it will sequester carbon and help grow the next crop. — Emma Marris



Definition of sequester (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the imposition of automatic government spending reductions in accordance with sequestration
2 obsolete : separation, isolation

Synonyms & Antonyms for sequester

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Sequester first appeared in English in the 14th century. The word derives from Latin sequestrare ("to hand over to a trustee") and ultimately from secus ("beside," "otherwise"), which is akin to Latin sequi ("to follow"). In this relationship, we can trace links to words such as sequel, sequence, consequence, and subsequent, all of which convey a meaning of one thing following another. These days, we most frequently hear sequester used in legal contexts, as juries are sometimes sequestered for the safety of their members or to prevent the influence of outside sources on a verdict. In a different sense, it is possible to sequester property in certain legal situations.

Examples of sequester in a Sentence

Verb The jury was sequestered until a verdict was reached. He was sequestered in his room.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While the samples were watered using a nutrient solution, they were dumped into lunar regolith as-is—no mixing with organic material and no microbial growth that could sequester some of the metallic toxins before the plants encountered them. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 12 May 2022 The plant runs on geothermal energy and is able to sequester 4,000 tons of carbon per year. Time, 28 Dec. 2021 Known as blue carbon, carbon captured by these ecosystems can sequester, or remove, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a faster rate than forests, despite being smaller in size. Wanjohi Kabukuru, ajc, 6 May 2022 That type of farm, no matter how small, can sequester more than 25 tons of carbon per acre, according to methodology adapted from the nonprofit Project Drawdown and the Environmental Protection Agency. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 May 2022 In aggregate, those trees sequester more than two thousand tons of carbon dioxide. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 With markets spontaneously boycotting Russian oil and 70% of cargoes having difficulty finding buyers, the Biden administration could offer a safe harbor for trades if the parties agree to sequester the funds pending a cease-fire in Ukraine. WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 Much is at stake, said Salk plant biologist Joanne Chory,who is working on ways to get plants to sequester greater amounts of carbon. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Nov. 2021 The barn was finished just in time for the owner’s children to sequester during the pandemic last year. Marni Elyse Katz, House Beautiful, 22 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ecobricks sequester plastic from the global waste stream. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2022 Tidal marshes such as those found along the lagoons on San Diego County’s coast sequester carbon in deep layers of soil. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 May 2022 Lackner said to balance out the planet's carbon budget, the trees would need to move beyond the market and sequester CO2. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 In the former case, the terrestrial gear can, over tens of thousands of years, mesh with the geological gear to more or less permanently sequester carbon. Erik Kobayashi-solomon, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 The armed services are still trying to recover from sequester budget cuts, which started in 2013 and brutalized readiness. Kate Bachelder Odell, WSJ, 17 Feb. 2022 An example of geoengineering on an epic scale, the company’s proposal aims to deepen the lake by an average of 7 feet and sequester contaminated lakebed sediments in the artificial islands. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Feb. 2022 The rotting trees in dying forests release greenhouse gases, whereas healthy forests sequester carbon in trees and in soils. Matt Simon, Wired, 27 Dec. 2021 Such ecosystems also help sequester carbon, mitigating climate change. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sequester.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sequester


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


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for sequester


Middle English sequestren, from Anglo-French sequestrer, from Latin sequestrare to hand over to a trustee, from sequester third party to whom disputed property is entrusted, agent, from secus beside, otherwise; akin to Latin sequi to follow

Learn More About sequester

Time Traveler for sequester

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About sequester

Dictionary Entries Near sequester

sequential system



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sequester

Last Updated

5 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sequester.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sequester


transitive verb
se·​ques·​ter | \ si-ˈkwes-tər How to pronounce sequester (audio) \

Medical Definition of sequester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to hold (as a metallic ion) in solution especially for the purpose of suppressing undesired chemical or biological activity



Medical Definition of sequester (Entry 2 of 2)


transitive verb
se·​ques·​ter | \ si-ˈkwes-tər How to pronounce sequester (audio) \
sequestered; sequestering

Legal Definition of sequester

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to place (as a jury or witness) in seclusion or isolation

Note: Juries are sequestered in order to preserve their impartiality. Witnesses are sequestered so that their testimony is not influenced by the testimony of prior witnesses.

2a : to seize especially by a writ of sequestration
b : to deposit (property) in sequestration



Legal Definition of sequester (Entry 2 of 2)

History and Etymology for sequester

Transitive verb

Anglo-French sequestrer, from Middle French, from Latin sequestrare to hand over to a trustee, from sequester third party to whom disputed property is entrusted, agent, from secus beside, otherwise

More from Merriam-Webster on sequester

Nglish: Translation of sequester for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sequester for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!