follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

seize

[seez] /siz/
verb (used with object), seized, seizing.
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, seizing.
10.
to grab or take hold suddenly or forcibly (usually followed by on or upon):
to seize on a rope.
11.
to resort to a method, plan, etc., in desperation (usually followed by on or upon):
He must seize on a solution, however risky.
12.
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
1250-1300
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 forms
seizable, adjective
seizer; Law. seizor
[see-zer, -zawr] /ˈsi zər, -zɔr/ (Show IPA),
noun
reseize, verb (used with object), reseized, reseizing.
unseizable, adjective
unseized, adjective
Synonyms
1. clutch, grab. 7. arrest, apprehend. See catch.
Antonyms
7. release.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for seizes
  • The paralysis gradually seizes the entire body and depresses breathing.
  • He butchers prisoners, betrays everybody, and seizes the main chance.
  • But whenever an author seizes on a single element and says this is the explanation, the key, you know he is wrong.
  • Of course not: he seizes the opportunity to try to take control of the scared populace.
  • The ant seizes the edges of the wound in its mandibles and locks in place.
British Dictionary definitions for seizes

seize

/siːz/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
(also intransitive) 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
3.
to take mental possession of alarm seized the crowd
4.
to take possession of rapidly and forcibly the thief seized the woman's purse
5.
to take legal possession of; take into custody
6.
to take by force or capture the army seized the undefended town
7.
to take immediate advantage of to seize an opportunity
8.
(nautical) to bind (two ropes together or a piece of gear to a rope) See also serve (sense 19)
9.
(intransitive) 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 Forms
seizable, adjective
Word Origin
C13 saisen, from Old French saisir, from Medieval Latin sacīre to position, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic satjan to set1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for seizes

seize

v.

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for seize

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for seizes

15
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with seizes

Nearby words for seizes