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[seej] /sidʒ/
the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies, for the purpose of lessening the resistance of the defenders and thereby making capture possible.
any prolonged or persistent effort to overcome resistance.
a series of illnesses, troubles, or annoyances besetting a person or group:
a siege of head colds.
a prolonged period of trouble or annoyance.
Also, sedge. Ornithology.
  1. a flock of herons.
  2. the station of a heron at prey.
the shelf or floor of a glassmaking furnace on which the glass pots are set.
  1. a seat, especially one used by a person of distinction, as a throne.
  2. station as to rank or class.
verb (used with object), sieged, sieging.
to assail or assault; besiege.
lay siege to, to besiege:
The army laid siege to the city for over a month.
Origin of siege
1175-1225; (noun) Middle English sege < Old French: seat, noun derivative of siegier < Vulgar Latin *sedicāre to set, derivative of Latin sedēre to sit1; (v.) Middle English segen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
siegeable, adjective
unsieged, adjective
1. Siege, blockade are terms for prevention of free movement to or from a place during wartime. Siege implies surrounding a city and cutting off its communications, and usually includes direct assaults on its defenses. Blockade is applied more often to naval operations that block all commerce, especially to cut off food and other supplies from defenders. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for siege
  • Polo probably heard of the siege and took note of it.
  • But even though the enemy has yet to be vanquished, it is still under siege from all angles.
  • And local fishermen are feeling as if they are under siege.
  • Growing human populations and improved fishing technology have placed marine animals under siege across the world's oceans.
  • The baggage and papers of officers and soldiers taken during the siege to be likewise preserved for them.
  • The second consequence has been the fraying of an empire, and the sight of its emperor under siege.
  • The librarians at the round desk in the middle look out at the siege uneasily.
  • But never have the testers been more under siege than in the past twelve months.
  • But little attention is being paid to the fact that our system of electing a president is under siege.
  • Although some gangsters escaped the siege via storm-water drains, others are reported to have been ferried out in police cars.
British Dictionary definitions for siege


  1. the offensive operations carried out to capture a fortified place by surrounding it, severing its communications and supply lines, and deploying weapons against it
  2. (as modifier): siege warfare
a persistent attempt to gain something
a long tedious period, as of illness, etc
(obsolete) a seat or throne
lay siege to, to besiege
(transitive) to besiege or assail
Word Origin
C13: from Old French sege a seat, from Vulgar Latin sēdicāre (unattested) to sit down, from Latin sedēre
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
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Word Origin and History for siege

early 13c., "a seat" (as in Siege Perilous, early 13c., the vacant seat at Arthur's Round Table, according to prophecy to be occupied safely only by the knight destined to find the Holy Grail), from Old French sege "seat, throne," from Vulgar Latin *sedicum "seat," from Latin sedere "sit" (see sedentary). The military sense is attested from c.1300; the notion is of an army "sitting down" before a fortress.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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