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ˈsēj How to pronounce siege (audio)
 also  ˈsēzh
: a military blockade of a city or fortified place to compel it to surrender
: a persistent or serious attack (as of illness)
obsolete : a seat of distinction : throne


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sieged; sieging

transitive verb

: to lay siege to : to attack militarily : besiege
Insurgents rampaged through the countryside, sacked haciendas and mills, occupied small towns, and sieged the largest cities, Cusco and La Paz.Sergio Serulnikov
lay siege to
: to besiege militarily
: to pursue diligently or persistently

Examples of siege in a Sentence

Noun The castle was built to withstand a siege. The city is in a state of siege.
Recent Examples on the Web
The ruling effectively killed any chance of Trump facing trial over the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol before the November election and nearly fully shielded presidents from criminal liability. Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News, 11 July 2024 Cole's scheme was simple: lay siege to Rook's Rest and force Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) to send one of Team Black's dragons to defend the small and weakly fortified castle. Megan McCluskey, TIME, 8 July 2024
Police then began negotiations with other people in the home before authorities eventually sieged the house with armored vehicles. Christopher Cann, USA TODAY, 1 May 2024 While the attempt to siege the Capitol on Jan. 6. was foiled, the attack -- and the subsequent attempt to recast the narrative in the intervening months -- did not come without consequences, according to political scientist William Howell. Brittany Shepherd, ABC News, 6 Jan. 2022 See all Example Sentences for siege 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'siege.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English sege, from Anglo-French, seat, blockade, from Old French *siegier to seat, settle, from Vulgar Latin *sedicare, from Latin sedēre to sit — more at sit

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of siege was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near siege

Cite this Entry

“Siege.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the placing of an army around a fortified place or city to force it to surrender
: a lasting attack (as of illness)

More from Merriam-Webster on siege

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