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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 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
  • One might have imagined he saw before him the tented camps of a beleaguering host of Brobdingnagians.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • The Seven Captains are beleaguering Thebes, and affairs are going ill with the garrison.

  • He was now beleaguering Petersburg, and few Southerners doubted that he was sure of taking it and Richmond.

    Abraham Lincoln, Vol. II John T. Morse
  • They broke through the lines of the beleaguering camp, and re-established the freedom of Pavia.

    Renaissance in Italy, Volume 1 (of 7)

    John Addington Symonds
  • Emma stretched out her right hand with its small fingers tightly clenched, and shook it at the beleaguering host.

    The Siege of Norwich Castle Matilda Maria Blake
British Dictionary definitions for beleaguering


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 beleaguering



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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