Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: saisir 'to take possession of', from Medieval Latin sacire

seize

verb
     
seize W3 [transitive]
1 to take hold of something suddenly and violently [= grab]:
Suddenly he seized my hand.
seize something from somebody
Maggie seized the letter from her.
2 to take control of a place suddenly and quickly, using military force
seize power/control (of something)
The rebels have seized power.
A group of soldiers seized the airport.
3 if the police or government officers seize something, for example illegal drugs, they take legal possession of it:
160,000 CDs were seized from illegal factories.
All of my assets were seized, including my home.
4 to suddenly catch someone and make sure they cannot get away:
The gunmen were seized at 1 a.m.
5

seize a chance/an opportunity/the initiative

to quickly and eagerly do something when you have the chance to
6

be seized with/by terror/desire etc

to suddenly be affected by an extremely strong feeling:
When she saw his face, she was seized by fear.

seize on/upon something

phrasal verb
to suddenly become very interested in an idea, excuse, what someone says etc:
His every remark is seized upon by the press.

seize up

phrasal verb
a) if an engine or part of a machine seizes up, its moving parts stop working and can no longer move, for example because of lack of oil:
The mechanism had seized up.
b) if a part of your body, such as your back, seizes up, you suddenly cannot move it and it is very painful

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary