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verb (used with object)
  1. to surround with military forces.
  2. to surround or beset, as with troubles.
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Origin of beleaguer

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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for beleaguered

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then first, not when alone in the beleaguered city, he knew desolation.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • Thus the sun set on Rome beleaguered, the barbarians outside the City.

    Theodoric the Goth

    Thomas Hodgkin

  • In 1279 the last stronghold of the Sungs was beleaguered by land and sea.

  • His impression that first afternoon had been true—she was beleaguered, if not lost.

  • Not a man of them was known to any member of the beleaguered garrison.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

British Dictionary definitions for beleaguered


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



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper