\ ˈsü How to pronounce sue (audio) \
sued; suing

Definition of sue

transitive verb

1a : to seek justice or right from (a person) by legal process specifically : to bring an action against
b : to proceed with and follow up (a legal action) to proper termination
2 archaic : to pay court or suit to : woo
3 obsolete : to make petition to or for

intransitive verb

1 : to take legal proceedings in court
2 : to make a request or application : plead usually used with for or to sue for peace
3 : to pay court : woo he loved … but sued in vain— William Wordsworth

Other Words from sue

suer noun

Examples of sue in a Sentence

Some people sue over the most minor things. People injured in accidents caused by the defective tire have threatened to sue. They've threatened to sue the company. He is suing the doctor who performed the unnecessary surgery.
Recent Examples on the Web The region’s powerful but little-known South Coast Air Quality Management District is threatening to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for not doing more to slash pollution from airplanes, trains and ships, The Times’ Tony Briscoe reports. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 This is like your favorite take-out place being allowed to sue the health inspector for citing health code violations in the restaurant kitchen. Edward Conroy, Forbes, 24 Apr. 2022 Capitol says he was pushed out in June for revealing flaws in the Legislative Equity Office and is now threatening to sue the Legislature and top lawmakers for retaliation. oregonlive, 18 Apr. 2022 The Sierra Club, the appellate court said, lacked standing to sue, since it wouldn’t be directly affected by the project. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 What’s next: The ACLU has vowed to sue to block the law restricting gender-affirming care. Jon Passantino, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 The onslaught was facilitated by one of Britain’s legal niches: lawyers who specialize in suing, or threatening to sue, reporters, publishers and broadcasters for defamation. David Segal, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 Depp was allowed to sue in Virginia because the Post's online editions are published through servers located in Fairfax County. Matthew Barakat, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 While a rapist wouldn't be allowed to sue, their family members could. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of sue

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

History and Etymology for sue

Middle English sewen, siuen to follow, strive for, petition, from Anglo-French sivre, siure, from Vulgar Latin *sequere, from Latin sequi to follow; akin to Greek hepesthai to follow, Sanskrit sacate he accompanies

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Time Traveler for sue

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sue


\ ˈsü How to pronounce sue (audio) \
sued; suing

Kids Definition of sue

: to seek justice or right by bringing legal action


sued; suing

Legal Definition of sue

transitive verb

: to bring an action against : seek justice from by legal process

intransitive verb

: to bring an action in court

History and Etymology for sue

Anglo-French suer suire, literally, to follow, pursue, from Old French sivre, ultimately from Latin sequi to follow

Sue biographical name

\ ˈsü How to pronounce Sue (audio) , ˈsᵫ \

Definition of Sue

Eugène 1804–1857 originally Marie-Joseph Sue French novelist

More from Merriam-Webster on sue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sue

Nglish: Translation of sue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sue for Arabic Speakers


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