[ seel ]
/ sil /


verb (used with object)

Verb Phrases

seal off,
  1. to close hermetically: to seal off a jar.
  2. 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 for seal

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

Origin of seal

1175–1225; (noun) Middle English seel, seil(e), seale mark on a document, token < Old French seel (French sceau) < Late Latin *sigellum, Latin sigillum, diminutive of signum sign; replacing Middle English seil, Old English (in)segel seal < Late Latin, as above; (v.) sealen, seilen < Old French seeler, seieler, derivative of seel


seal·a·ble, adjectivere·seal·a·ble, adjective


ceiling sealing Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for seal off (1 of 2)

/ (siːl) /


verb (tr)

Derived forms of seal

sealable, adjective

Word Origin for seal

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

British Dictionary definitions for seal off (2 of 2)

/ (siːl) /


any pinniped mammal of the families Otariidae (eared seals) and Phocidae (earless seals) that are aquatic but come on shore to breedSee eared seal, earless seal Related adjectives: otarid, phocine
any earless seal (family Phocidae), esp the common or harbour seal or the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)


(intr) to hunt for seals

Derived forms of seal

seal-like, adjective

Word Origin for seal

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

Science definitions for seal off

[ sēl ]

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.

Idioms and Phrases with seal off (1 of 2)

seal off

Also, seal up. Close tightly or barricade to prevent entry or exit. For example, We're sealing off the unused wing of the building, or The jar is tightly sealed up. Dating from the first half of the 1900s, this idiom uses seal in the sense of “close securely,” as one used to do with a seal of wax.

Idioms and Phrases with seal off (2 of 2)


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.