\ 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 Moreover, the bill creates no parallel right to sue to stop the counting of legally invalid votes. The Editors, National Review, 23 Sep. 2022 The bill, which includes a private right to sue, would apply to a broad range of companies, including mobile communications providers and technology companies that operate menstrual-tracking apps. Keith Lewis, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Sep. 2022 Masha's Law is a 2005 federal law that gives victims of child pornography the right to sue parties who produce, distribute, or possess such images and materials. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 6 Sep. 2022 Members of the public have no constitutional right to sue public employees who fail to protect them from harm inflicted by third parties, the judge noted. oregonlive, 2 Sep. 2022 This legalese states that, if there is a dispute, both parties will forfeit their right to sue in court, and an arbiter will decide who prevails and who loses. Cheri Bustos, ELLE, 12 Aug. 2022 First, the plaintiffs gave up the right to sue or seek legal redress against the Church of Scientology in perpetuity. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 27 July 2022 Castle Rock, on the other hand, spoke to its inhumanity, denying a mother whose three children were killed by her husband the right to sue the police who failed to enforce a restraining order against him. New York Times, 25 July 2022 The Curt Flood Act, signed into law in 1998, gave major league players the right to sue for antitrust violations, although the players’ union would have to disband for players to exercise that right. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 15 July 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

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 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

Nglish: Translation of sue for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sue for Arabic Speakers


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