\ˈsēj also ˈsēzh \

Definition of siege 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 obsolete : a seat of distinction : throne

2a : a military blockade of a city or fortified place to compel it to surrender

b : a persistent or serious attack (as of illness)

lay siege to

1 : to besiege militarily

2 : to pursue diligently or persistently


sieged; sieging

Definition of siege (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for siege

Synonyms: Noun

access, attack, bout, case, fit, seizure, spell, turn

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of siege in a Sentence


The castle was built to withstand a siege. The city is in a state of siege.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The siege occurred on the night of September 11, when 20 men armed with grenade launchers and machine guns stormed the American compound and set it on fire. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Libyan Charged in Deadly 2012 Attack on Benghazi Diplomatic Compound," 30 Oct. 2017 The breach is expected to end a nightmare siege for tens of thousands of people trapped in a handful of neighborhoods controlled by the government and a nearby airport. Bassem Mroue,, "Syrian troops breach 3-year Islamic State siege on eastern city," 5 Sep. 2017 Though Hernán Cortés, the conquistador charged with taking over what is now Mexico, initially entered the city of Tenochtitlan without resistance, before long, violence broke out and the Spanish staged a nearly three-month-long siege of the city. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "Mexico City Dig Uncovers Traces of Aztec Resistance to Spain," 6 July 2017 Weinstein and his reputation appeared to still be under siege Tuesday. James Rainey, NBC News, "Weinstein’s Harassment Charges Are Only the Latest Problem for His Company," 9 Oct. 2017 To have access to Dave, who is one of the nine survivors of the final siege, was huge to have. Kara Warner,, "See Friday Night Lights Star Taylor Kitsch as a Fanatical Cult Leader in Waco," 25 Sep. 2017 Branch Davidians The Branch Davidians broke off from the Davidian Seventh-Day Aventists in 1955 but didn’t make headlines till the infamous Waco siege of 1993. Eliza Thompson, Cosmopolitan, "The 8 Scariest Cult Stories of All Time," 14 July 2017 The school has been under siege since September, when a social media post showed nine St. Teresa’s students posed with beer pong cups arranged as a swastika. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "After swastika and racial bullying St. Teresa's teaching more diversity and inclusion | The Kansas City Star," 23 Oct. 2017 Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine (Doubleday) uncovers a 20th-century Ukraine under siege. Sloane Crosley, Vanities, "What to Read This Fall: Naomi Alderman’s The Power, Amy Tan’s Where the Past Begins, and More," 22 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of siege


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for siege


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about siege

Statistics for siege

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for siege

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for siege


\ˈsēj \

Kids Definition of siege

: the act of moving an army around a fortified place to capture it

lay siege to

: to attack militarily

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on siege

What made you want to look up siege? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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