\ 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 False Claims Act allows whistleblowers to act as private attorneys general who can sue in the government's name and take a hefty slice of any recovery (15-30%). Max Voldman, Fortune, 22 July 2022 The legislation unveiled Friday seeks to strike a compromise, including a limit on when and how users can sue Internet companies, and measures that would supersede most state digital privacy laws. Cristiano Lima, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 But whether the defendant also can sue the officer has remained an open question. David Lautersenior Editor, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 Crikey, a small news site, had essentially lobbied Murdoch to sue it as a test of Australia’s laws protecting journalistic free speech. Jeremy Barr, Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2022 In a debate, Ms. Lake insisted Mr. Stevens was lying about performing at her home and her campaign threatened to sue him for defamation. New York Times, 22 July 2022 Elon Musk has responded to Twitter's plan to sue him after a deal to buy the social networking website fell through. Nicholas Rice,, 11 July 2022 Twitter has the right to sue him to follow through with the current agreement. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Moore has adamantly denied the allegations, causing Corfman to sue him for defamation. Howard Koplowitz |, al, 10 June 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

16 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 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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