- to take hold of suddenly or forcibly; grasp: to seize a weapon.
- to grasp mentally; understand clearly and completely: to seize an idea.
- to take possession of by force or at will: to seize enemy ships.
- to take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold: Panic seized the crowd.
- to take possession of by legal authority; confiscate: to seize smuggled goods.
- Also seise. Law. to put (someone) in seizin or legal possession of property (usually used in passive constructions): She was seized of vast estates.
- to capture; take into custody.
- to take advantage of promptly: to seize an opportunity.
- Nautical. to bind or fasten together with a seizing.
- to grab or take hold suddenly or forcibly (usually followed by on or upon): to seize on a rope.
- to resort to a method, plan, etc., in desperation (usually followed by on or upon): He must seize on a solution, however risky.
- to have moving parts bind and stop moving as a result of excessive pressure, temperature, or friction (usually followed by up): The engine seized up from cold.
Origin of seize
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for seized
Historically, conquering armies have seized inhabitants of conquered areas and enslaved them.ISIS, Boko Haram, and the Growing Role of Human Trafficking in 21st Century Terrorism
Louise I. Shelley
December 26, 2014
MIAMI — Fidel Castro seized power in January 1959 after waging a guerilla war against then-dictator Fulgencio Batista.Cuba Is A Kleptocracy, Not Communist
December 19, 2014
Authorities have seized more than $250 million in assets from businesses across Rome.The Mayor Who Took Down the Mafia That Ruined Rome
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 6, 2014
We already have results: we destroyed many vehicles, military convoys, seized many trophies.Fierce Fighting in Grozny Raises Specter of ISIS Influence in Russia
December 4, 2014
They seized key government buildings and forced the resignation of then Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa.Yemen’s a Model All Right—For Disaster
Michael Shank , Casey Harrity
November 14, 2014
He was seized with fear for what he might do in his despair.
In spite of the wound he seized the musket and forcibly wrested it from our hero.
She had begun to pull away in alarm when he seized her wrist.
And you seized his cane in a fury, and broke it in returning the blow.
In April, 1870, a party of English travelers in Greece were seized by brigands.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
- (also intr foll by on ) to take hold of quickly; grabshe seized her hat and ran for the bus
- (sometimes foll by on or upon) to grasp mentally, esp rapidlyshe immediately seized his idea
- to take mental possession ofalarm seized the crowd
- to take possession of rapidly and forciblythe thief seized the woman's purse
- to take legal possession of; take into custody
- to take by force or capturethe army seized the undefended town
- to take immediate advantage ofto seize an opportunity
- nautical to bind (two ropes together or a piece of gear to a rope)See also serve (def. 19)
- (intr often foll by up) (of mechanical parts) to become jammed, esp because of excessive heat
- (passive usually foll by of) to be apprised of; conversant with
- the usual US spelling of seise
Word Origin and History for seized
mid-13c., from Old French seisir "to take possession of, take by force; put in possession of, bestow upon" (Modern French saisir), from Late Latin sacire, which is generally held to be from a Germanic source, but the exact origin is uncertain. Perhaps from Frankish *sakjan "lay claim to" (cf. Gothic sokjan, Old English secan "to seek;" see seek). Or perhaps from Proto-Germanic *satjan "to place" (see set (v.)).
Originally a legal term in reference to feudal property holdings or offices. Meaning "to grip with the hands or teeth" is from c.1300; that of "to take possession by force or capture" (of a city, etc.) is from mid-14c. Figurative use, with reference to death, disease, fear, etc. is from late 14c. Meaning "to grasp with the mind" is attested from 1855. Of engines or other mechanisms, attested from 1878. Related: Seized; seizing.