Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for beleaguering
Historical Examples
  • It was to disperse this head of partisan war that Tarleton was called off from beleaguering Marion.

  • 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
  • Crucifixes and shrines surrounded the clearing like the sentries of a beleaguering army.

    Three More John Silence Stories Algernon Blackwood
  • Had it been otherwise, there would have been no beleaguering of girls in forts, and Canada would have lost a pretty story.

  • By the 22nd of April the garrison of Landrecies was contained, the beleaguering troops had encircled it, and the siege was begun.

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

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • The Seven Captains are beleaguering Thebes, and affairs are going ill with the garrison.

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

    Constantinople William Holden Hutton
  • 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
  • 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)
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for beleaguer

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for beleaguering

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for beleaguering