Origin of beleaguer

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

Synonyms for beleaguer Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for beleaguering

beset, bedevil, plague, annoy, gnaw, nag, tease, bother, pester, vex, blockade, persecute, storm, harry, worry, badger, siege

Examples from the Web for beleaguering

Historical Examples of beleaguering

  • 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."


    William Holden Hutton

British Dictionary definitions for beleaguering


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

Word Origin for beleaguer

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 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