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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
Following negotiations laid out by the president of Belarus, Prigozhin agreed to stop his siege, and the Wagner Group returned to their bases without reaching Moscow. Justin Klawans, The Week, 6 Sep. 2023 As the war turned against Germany, the Red Army laid siege to Königsberg, forcing many Germans to flee. Nicole Eaton, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 The Battle of Seelow Heights, as the siege is now known, has been recognized as one of the largest artillery bombardments in history. Hope Hodge Seck, Popular Mechanics, 21 Aug. 2023 In the aftermath of the May 9 riots – when supporters of Mr. Khan laid siege to military installations in a show of anger at his initial arrest this spring – the Pakistan army cracked down on Mr. Khan’s party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Aug. 2023 But now wildfire is laying siege to the eastern subspecies, with the 93,000-acre York fire raging through their habitat, The Times’ Grace Toohey and Hayley Smith report. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 8 Aug. 2023 Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted. Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. Paul Duggan, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2023 Cannons date back to the Middle Ages, when they were first used as siege weapons. Hope Hodge Seck, Popular Mechanics, 21 Aug. 2023 But the steady, day-to-day attrition of the siege was also taking a heavy psychological toll. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 15 Aug. 2023
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 After that, the blacks could surround and siege King’s Landing and force the greens’ surrender. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 23 Oct. 2022 Russia's military has reportedly moved 12 of 14 elite units Mariupol to siege the city. Fox News, 25 Apr. 2022 In the Ukraine conflict, reports of civilian casualties have dominated the headlines as Russian troops siege cities around the country. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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