[ seel ]
See synonyms for seal on
  1. an embossed emblem, figure, symbol, word, letter, etc., used as attestation or evidence of authenticity:Without the seal, the certificate is useless.

  2. a stamp, medallion, ring, etc., engraved with such a device, for impressing paper, wax, lead, or the like: The king took the seal from his finger and applied it to the document.

  1. the impression so obtained: It was unmistakably the royal seal on the document.

  2. a mark or symbol attached to a legal document and imparting a formal character to it, originally wax with an impression:Part of his job was stamping the lawyer's seal next to each of her signatures.

  3. a piece of wax or similar adhesive substance so attached to an envelope, folded document, etc., that it must be broken when the object is opened, insuring that the contents have not been tampered with or altered.

  4. anything that tightly or completely closes or secures a thing, as closures or fastenings for doors and railroad cars, adhesive stamps and tapes used to secure the flap of an envelope, etc.

  5. something that keeps a thing secret: Her vow was the seal that kept her silent.

  6. a decorative stamp, especially as given to contributors to a charitable fund: a Christmas seal.

  7. a mark, sign, symbol, or the like, serving as visible evidence of something.

  8. anything that serves as assurance, confirmation, or bond: She gave the plan her seal of approval.

  9. Plumbing.

    • a small amount of water held by a trap to exclude foul gases from a sewer or the like.

    • the depth of the part of the water that actually excludes the gases.

  10. the seals, British. the tokens or signs of public office.

verb (used with object)
  1. to affix a seal to in authorization, testimony, etc.

  2. to assure, confirm, or bind with or as if with a seal: They sealed the bargain with a handshake.

  1. to impress a seal upon as evidence of legal or standard exactness, measure, quality, etc.

  2. to close by any form of fastening that must be broken before access can be gained.

  3. to fasten or close tightly by or as if by a seal: She was sealing envelopes. My lips are sealed.

  4. to decide irrevocably: to seal someone's fate.

  5. to grant under one's seal or authority, as a pardon.

  6. Mormon Church. to make (a marriage or adoption) forever binding; solemnize.

  7. Electricity. to bring (a plug and jack or socket) into locked or fully aligned position.

Verb Phrases
  1. seal off,

    • to close hermetically: to seal off a jar.

    • to block (an entrance, area, etc.) completely so as to prevent escape or entrance: The police sealed off the area after the bomb threat was received.

Idioms about seal

  1. set one's seal to, to give one's approval to; authorize; endorse: Both families have set their seal to the marriage.

  2. seal / close the deal. See entry at seal the deal.

Origin of seal

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun sel(e), selle, seal(e) “an identifying impressed mark on a document,” from Old French seel, seal(e), seil (French sceau ), from unattested Vulgar Latin sigellum, segellum, from Latin sigillum “statuette, flgure on a signet ring,” diminutive of signum “an identifying mark written, impressed, or affixed; point, impression”; verb sele(n), seale(n), seil(en), from Old French seeler, sealer, seieler, derivative of seel; see also sign

Other words from seal

  • seal·a·ble, adjective
  • re·seal·a·ble, adjective

Words that may be confused with seal

Words Nearby seal

Other definitions for seal (2 of 4)

[ seel ]

noun,plural seals, (especially collectively for 1) seal.
  1. any of numerous marine carnivores of the suborder Pinnipedia, including the eared or fur seals, as the sea lion, and the earless or hair seals, as the harbor seal.

  2. the skin of such an animal.

  1. leather made from this skin.

  2. the fur of the fur seal; sealskin.

  3. a fur used as a substitute for sealskin.

  4. a dark, gray brown.

verb (used without object)
  1. to hunt, kill, or capture seals.

Origin of seal

First recorded before 900; Middle English sel(e), cel(e), zel(e), Old English seolh; cognate with Old Norse selr, Old High German selah

Other words from seal

  • seallike, adjective

Other definitions for seal (3 of 4)

[ seel ]

verb (used with object)Falconry.

Other definitions for SEAL (4 of 4)

[ seel ]

  1. a member of the U.S. Navy’s special operations forces.

Origin of SEAL

se(a) a(ir) l(and) (team) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use seal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for seal (1 of 2)


/ (siːl) /

  1. a device impressed on a piece of wax, moist clay, etc, fixed to a letter, document, etc, as a mark of authentication

  2. a stamp, ring, etc, engraved with a device to form such an impression

  1. a substance, esp wax, so placed over an envelope, document, etc, that it must be broken before the object can be opened or used

  2. any substance or device used to close or fasten tightly

  3. a material, such as putty or cement, that is used to close an opening to prevent the passage of air, water, etc

  4. a small amount of water contained in the trap of a drain to prevent the passage of foul smells

  5. an agent or device for keeping something hidden or secret

  6. anything that gives a pledge or confirmation

  7. a decorative stamp often sold in aid of charity

  8. Also called: seal of confession RC Church the obligation never to reveal anything said by a penitent in confession

  9. set one's seal on or set one's seal to

    • to mark with one's sign or seal

    • to endorse

  1. to affix a seal to, as proof of authenticity

  2. to stamp with or as if with a seal

  1. to approve or authorize

  2. (sometimes foll by up) to close or secure with or as if with a seal: to seal one's lips; seal up a letter

  3. (foll by off) to enclose (a place) with a fence, wall, etc

  4. to decide irrevocably

  5. Mormon Church to make (a marriage or adoption) perpetually binding

  6. to subject (the outside of meat, etc) to fierce heat so as to retain the juices during cooking

  7. to close tightly so as to render airtight or watertight

  8. to paint (a porous material) with a nonporous coating

  9. Australian and NZ to consolidate (a road surface) with bitumen, tar, etc

Origin of seal

C13 seel, from Old French, from Latin sigillum little figure, from signum a sign

Derived forms of seal

  • sealable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for seal (2 of 2)


/ (siːl) /

  1. any pinniped mammal of the families Otariidae (eared seals) and Phocidae (earless seals) that are aquatic but come on shore to breed: See eared seal, earless seal Related adjectives: otarid, phocine

  2. any earless seal (family Phocidae), esp the common or harbour seal or the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)

  1. sealskin

  1. (intr) to hunt for seals

Origin of seal

Old English seolh; related to Old Norse selr, Old High German selah, Old Irish selige tortoise

Derived forms of seal

  • seal-like, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for seal


[ sēl ]

  1. Any of various aquatic carnivorous mammals of the families Phocidae and Otariidae, having a sleek, torpedo-shaped body and limbs that are modified into paddlelike flippers. Seals live chiefly in the Northern Hemisphere and, like walruses, are pinnipeds.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with seal


In addition to the idioms beginning with seal

  • seal of approval
  • seal off
  • seal one's fate

also see:

  • lips are sealed
  • set one's seal on
  • signed, sealed and delivered

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.