verb (used with object), sued, su·ing.
  1. to institute a process in law against; bring a civil action against: to sue someone for damages.
  2. to woo or court.
  3. Obsolete. to make petition or appeal to.
verb (used without object), sued, su·ing.
  1. to institute legal proceedings, or bring suit: She threatened to sue.
  2. to make petition or appeal: to sue for peace.
  3. to court a woman.
Verb Phrases
  1. sue out, to make application for or apply for and obtain (a writ or the like) from a court of law.

Origin of sue

1150–1200; Middle English suen, siwen < Old French sivre < Vulgar Latin *sequere to follow, for Latin sequī
Related formssu·er, nounun·sued, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for suing

Contemporary Examples of suing

Historical Examples of suing

  • And he added: 'The funny part of it all is, that Naudet is suing Fagerolles.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • Dear Father: Mr. Chipperton has told me about your suing him.

    A Jolly Fellowship

    Frank R. Stockton

  • So far from this being the course, the person to be sued was the owner at the time of suing.

    The Common Law

    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • She was vastly pleased to see a Sparhallow suing to her—a Sparhallow!

  • He knew not what he was asking, nor that he was suing for his own destruction.

British Dictionary definitions for suing


verb sues, suing or sued
  1. to institute legal proceedings (against)
  2. to make suppliant requests of (someone for something)
  3. archaic to pay court (to)
Derived Formssuer, noun

Word Origin for sue

C13: via Anglo-Norman from Old French sivre, from Latin sequī to follow


  1. Eugène (øʒɛn). original name Marie-Joseph Sue. 1804–57, French novelist, whose works, notably Les mystères de Paris (1842–43) and Le juif errant (1844–45), were among the first to reflect the impact of the industrial revolution on France
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 suing



c.1200, "continue, persevere," from Anglo-French suer "follow after, continue," from Old French sivre, later suivre "pursue, follow after," from Vulgar Latin *sequere "follow," from Latin sequi "follow" (see sequel). Sense of "start a lawsuit against" first recorded c.1300, on notion of "following up" a matter in court. Sometimes short for ensue or pursue. Related: Sued; suing.


fem. proper name, a shortened or familiar form of Susan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper