the act of a person or thing that seizes.
Nautical. a means of binding or fastening together two objects, as two ropes, or parts of the same rope, by a number of longitudinal and transverse turns of marline, wire, or other small stuff.

Origin of seizing

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at seize, -ing1



verb (used with object), seized, seiz·ing.

to take hold of suddenly or forcibly; grasp: to seize a weapon.
to grasp mentally; understand clearly and completely: to seize an idea.
to take possession of by force or at will: to seize enemy ships.
to take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold: Panic seized the crowd.
to take possession of by legal authority; confiscate: to seize smuggled goods.
Also seise. Law. to put (someone) in seizin or legal possession of property (usually used in passive constructions): She was seized of vast estates.
to capture; take into custody.
to take advantage of promptly: to seize an opportunity.
Nautical. to bind or fasten together with a seizing.

verb (used without object), seized, seiz·ing.

to grab or take hold suddenly or forcibly (usually followed by on or upon): to seize on a rope.
to resort to a method, plan, etc., in desperation (usually followed by on or upon): He must seize on a solution, however risky.
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

Synonym study

7. See catch.

Antonyms for seize Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for seizing

Contemporary Examples of seizing

Historical Examples of seizing

  • Seizing the lamp from the hearth, she hastened to the window that overlooked the street-door.

    The Wives of The Dead

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • But the rest of the men slept heavily, seizing the unwonted chance.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Seizing Taffy by the hand, he led him into what was the storehouse of the cave.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • Seizing a match-box, he struck a light and held it to the hook.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • I asked the staff-captain, seizing him by the arm, and involuntarily rejoicing.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

British Dictionary definitions for seizing



nautical a binding used for holding together two ropes, two spars, etc, esp by lashing with a separate rope


verb (mainly tr)

(also intr foll by on ) to take hold of quickly; grabshe seized her hat and ran for the bus
(sometimes foll by on or upon) to grasp mentally, esp rapidlyshe immediately seized his idea
to take mental possession ofalarm seized the crowd
to take possession of rapidly and forciblythe thief seized the woman's purse
to take legal possession of; take into custody
to take by force or capturethe army seized the undefended town
to take immediate advantage ofto seize an opportunity
nautical to bind (two ropes together or a piece of gear to a rope)See also serve (def. 19)
(intr often foll by up) (of mechanical parts) to become jammed, esp because of excessive heat
(passive usually foll by of) to be apprised of; conversant with
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 seizing



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