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beleaguer

[bih-lee-ger]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to surround with military forces.
  2. to surround or beset, as with troubles.

Origin of beleaguer

First recorded in 1580–90; be- + leaguer1
Related formsbe·lea·guer·er, noun

Synonyms

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2. harass, pester, badger, bother, vex, annoy, plague, hector.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for beleaguering

Historical Examples

  • The winter settled after that with a beleaguering of steeps and broken levels under a blockade of stark hardship.

    The Roof Tree

    Charles Neville Buck

  • Had it been otherwise, there would have been no beleaguering of girls in forts, and Canada would have lost a pretty story.

  • The beleaguering force outside the fort, he said, must outnumber ours two to one.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • He had to learn how great was the scientific skill and resource of Maurice in the art of beleaguering.

    History of Holland

    George Edmundson

  • Every wall had its "military engines capable of playing on the siege-works of the beleaguering army."

    Constantinople

    William Holden Hutton


British Dictionary definitions for beleaguering

beleaguer

verb (tr)
  1. to trouble persistently; harass
  2. to lay siege to

Word Origin

C16: from be- + leaguer 1
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

Word Origin and History for beleaguering

beleaguer

v.

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