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[bih-lee-ger] /bɪˈli gər/
verb (used with object)
to surround with military forces.
to surround or beset, as with troubles.
Origin of beleaguer
First recorded in 1580-90; be- + leaguer1
Related forms
beleaguerer, noun
2. harass, pester, badger, bother, vex, annoy, plague, hector. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for beleaguered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then first, not when alone in the beleaguered city, he knew desolation.

    Heather and Snow George MacDonald
  • Thus the sun set on Rome beleaguered, the barbarians outside the City.

    Theodoric the Goth Thomas Hodgkin
  • In 1279 the last stronghold of the Sungs was beleaguered by land and sea.

    The Civilization Of China Herbert A. Giles
  • His impression that first afternoon had been true—she was beleaguered, if not lost.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
  • Not a man of them was known to any member of the beleaguered garrison.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
British Dictionary definitions for beleaguered


verb (transitive)
to trouble persistently; harass
to lay siege to
Word Origin
C16: from be- + leaguer1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beleaguered



1580s, from Dutch or Low German belegeren "to besiege," from be- "around" (see be-) + legeren "to camp," from leger "bed, camp, army, lair," from Proto-Germanic *leg-raz-, from PIE *legh-to- "lie" (see lie (v.2)). A word from the Flemish Wars (cf. Swedish belägra, Dutch belegeren "besiege," German Belagerung "siege"). Spelling influenced by league. Related: Beleaguered; beleaguering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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