[ seez ]
See synonyms for: seizeseizedseizing 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.

  1. to take possession of by force or at will: to seize enemy ships.

  2. to take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold: Panic seized the crowd.

  3. to take possession of by legal authority; confiscate: to seize smuggled goods.

  4. Also seise .Law. to put (someone) in seizin or legal possession of property (usually used in passive constructions): She was seized of vast estates.

  5. to capture; take into custody.

  6. to take advantage of promptly: to seize an opportunity.

  7. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. to have a seizure, as of epilepsy: He seized for about five minutes and then lost consciousness.

  3. (of melted chocolate) to become grainy and clumpy from overheating or from contact with a small amount of moisture (often followed by up): If the butter is too cold, the frosting will seize.

Origin of seize

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English saisen, seisen, from Old French saisir, from Medieval Latin sacīre “to place” (in phrase sacīre ad propriētam “to take as one's own, lay claim to”), from Frankish, perhaps akin to Gothic satjan “to set, put, place”; see set

synonym study For seize

7. See catch.

Other words for seize

Opposites for seize

Other words from seize

  • seiz·a·ble, adjective
  • seiz·er; Law. sei·zor [see-zer, -zawr], /ˈsi zər, -zɔr/, noun
  • re·seize, verb (used with object), re·seized, re·seiz·ing.
  • un·seiz·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby seize Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use seize in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for seize


/ (siːz) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. (also intr foll by on ) to take hold of quickly; grab: she seized her hat and ran for the bus

  2. (sometimes foll by on or upon) to grasp mentally, esp rapidly: she immediately seized his idea

  1. to take mental possession of: alarm seized the crowd

  2. to take possession of rapidly and forcibly: the thief seized the woman's purse

  3. to take legal possession of; take into custody

  4. to take by force or capture: the army seized the undefended town

  5. to take immediate advantage of: to seize an opportunity

  6. nautical to bind (two ropes together or a piece of gear to a rope): See also serve (def. 19)

  7. (intr often foll by up) (of mechanical parts) to become jammed, esp because of excessive heat

  8. (passive usually foll by of) to be apprised of; conversant with

  9. the usual US spelling of seise

Origin of seize

C13 saisen, from Old French saisir, from Medieval Latin sacīre to position, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic satjan to set 1

Derived forms of seize

  • seizable, 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