verb \ˈsēz\

: to use legal or official power to take (something)

: to get or take (something) in a forceful, sudden, or violent way

: to attack and take control of (a place) by force or violence


Full Definition of SEIZE

transitive verb
a usually seise \ˈsēz\ :  to vest ownership of a freehold estate in
b often seise :  to put in possession of something <the biographer will be seized of all pertinent papers>
a :  to take possession of :  confiscate
b :  to take possession of by legal process
a :  to possess or take by force :  capture
b :  to take prisoner :  arrest
a :  to take hold of :  clutch
b :  to possess oneself of :  grasp
c :  to understand fully and distinctly :  apprehend
a :  to attack or overwhelm physically :  afflict <seized with chest pains>
b :  to possess (as one's mind) completely or overwhelmingly <seized the popular imagination — Basil Davenport>
:  to bind or fasten together with a lashing of small stuff (as yarn, marline, or fine wire)
intransitive verb
:  to take or lay hold suddenly or forcibly
a :  to cohere to a relatively moving part through excessive pressure, temperature, or friction —used especially of machine parts (as bearings, brakes, or pistons)
b :  to fail to operate due to the seizing of a part —used of an engine
seiz·er noun

Origin of SEIZE

Middle English saisen, from Anglo-French seisir, from Medieval Latin sacire, of Germanic origin; perhaps akin to Old High German sezzen to set — more at set
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of SEIZE

take, seize, grasp, clutch, snatch, grab mean to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand. take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control <take some salad from the bowl>. seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible <seized the suspect>. grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession <grasp the handle and pull>. clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding <clutching her purse>. snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize <snatched a doughnut and ran>. grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch <grabbed roughly by the arm>.
SEIZE Defined for Kids


verb \ˈsēz\

Definition of SEIZE for Kids

:  to take possession of by or as if by force <Invaders seized the castle.> <He seized the lead.>
:  to take hold of suddenly or with force <… Balin was just in time to seize the boat before it floated off … — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit>
:  to take or use eagerly or quickly <She seized the opportunity to go.>


Next Word in the Dictionary: seizingPrevious Word in the Dictionary: sei whaleAll Words Near: seize
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears