See more synonyms for seize on
verb (used with object), seized, seiz·ing.
  1. to take hold of suddenly or forcibly; grasp: to seize a weapon.
  2. to grasp mentally; understand clearly and completely: to seize an idea.
  3. to take possession of by force or at will: to seize enemy ships.
  4. to take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold: Panic seized the crowd.
  5. to take possession of by legal authority; confiscate: to seize smuggled goods.
  6. Also seise. Law. to put (someone) in seizin or legal possession of property (usually used in passive constructions): She was seized of vast estates.
  7. to capture; take into custody.
  8. to take advantage of promptly: to seize an opportunity.
  9. Nautical. to bind or fasten together with a seizing.
verb (used without object), seized, seiz·ing.
  1. to grab or take hold suddenly or forcibly (usually followed by on or upon): to seize on a rope.
  2. to resort to a method, plan, etc., in desperation (usually followed by on or upon): He must seize on a solution, however risky.
  3. 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

1250–1300; Middle English saisen, seisen < Old French saisir < Medieval Latin sacīre to place (in phrase sacīre ad propriētam to take as one's own, lay claim to) < Frankish, perhaps akin to Gothic satjan to set, put, place
Related formsseiz·a·ble, adjectiveseiz·er; Law. sei·zor [see-zer, -zawr] /ˈsi zər, -zɔr/, nounre·seize, verb (used with object), re·seized, re·seiz·ing.un·seiz·a·ble, adjectiveun·seized, adjective

Synonyms for seize

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

7. See catch.

Antonyms for seize Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for seize

Contemporary Examples of seize

Historical Examples of seize

  • Russia sought to extend her conquests south and to seize upon Turkey.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • If I succeed in this I shall doubtless be able to seize more of His bounty.

  • For his love's sake, he must seize on this opportunity given of fate to him for mastery.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But as she crossed as if to seize the boy, Napoleon sprang toward his uncle for refuge.

  • But he would dash out after her, seize her round the body, drag her back into the shop.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for seize


verb (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr foll by on ) to take hold of quickly; grabshe seized her hat and ran for the bus
  2. (sometimes foll by on or upon) to grasp mentally, esp rapidlyshe immediately seized his idea
  3. to take mental possession ofalarm seized the crowd
  4. to take possession of rapidly and forciblythe thief seized the woman's purse
  5. to take legal possession of; take into custody
  6. to take by force or capturethe army seized the undefended town
  7. to take immediate advantage ofto seize an opportunity
  8. nautical to bind (two ropes together or a piece of gear to a rope)See also serve (def. 19)
  9. (intr often foll by up) (of mechanical parts) to become jammed, esp because of excessive heat
  10. (passive usually foll by of) to be apprised of; conversant with
  11. the usual US spelling of seise
Derived Formsseizable, adjective

Word Origin for seize

C13 saisen, from Old French saisir, from Medieval Latin sacīre to position, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic satjan to set 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 seize

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper