Definition of besiege in English:



[with object]
  • 1Surround (a place) with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender.

    ‘the king marched north to besiege Berwick’
    ‘the besieged city’
    • ‘While state security forces besieged the village and cut phone lines to prevent communication with the outside world, he sent in trucks full of hired thugs to take control.’
    • ‘As Hannibal's army ravaged the Italian countryside and besieged allied cities and towns, the Roman army followed it at a safe distance.’
    • ‘In a running battle that took a heavy toll of British soldiers' lives, the New England militia forced the redcoats back to Boston and besieged the port city.’
    • ‘A considerable British force was besieged at Kut and surrendered in April 1916.’
    • ‘The same stronghold was besieged in 1136, when miners again attempted to demolish the walls.’
    • ‘Battle lines were drawn: Henry brought up forces to besiege the town, while Henry the Younger was joined by troops from his brother Geoffrey and the new king Philip of France.’
    • ‘York was at the centre of an epic battle for control of the north of England that year, after the Royalist forces in the city were besieged during the spring.’
    • ‘In March 1628 a Spanish army besieged its key fortress of Casale, while a Piedmontese force occupied the remainder of the duchy.’
    • ‘Minos besieged his town and his daughter Scylla cut the lock from his head and offered it to him.’
    • ‘He clearly felt that it would have been better not to besiege the city in the first place, but that once the siege was begun it should have been carried through to completion.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the main body of the army was besieging the great city which was finally conquered after seven months.’
    • ‘The city was besieged by Parliamentarian forces trying to starve the Royalists out.’
    • ‘This style of warfare, with its double lines of siege works often constructed on a scale almost as elaborate as the defences of the place being besieged, could frequently consume entire campaigns.’
    • ‘Three assaults on Richmond by Grant were repelled by Lee, after which Union forces besieged the Confederate capital through the winter.’
    • ‘So the order is to besiege civilian areas and use food and water as a weapon.’
    • ‘For the entire morning and much of the afternoon, Central Security forces besieged the city centre.’
    • ‘Therefore, it becomes a prudent idea not to practice scorched earth policies when besieging an enemy city.’
    • ‘The town was besieged and taken, but later fell into disuse.’
    • ‘The city of Lyon refused to carry out instructions from Paris and the city was besieged for two months.’
    • ‘When you besiege a city by an army, you're just making them integrate together, and there will be a code of warriors trying to fight for their lives, which is wrong.’
    lay siege to, beleaguer, blockade, surround
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Surround and harass.
      ‘she spent the whole day besieged by newsmen’
      • ‘This being the recognised time to give alms, I was besieged by beggars, who spread their napkins before us on the ground, sprinkled with a few coppers to excite generosity.’
      • ‘Why haven't they been plagued or decimated by the problems that have besieged other teams, including those with terrific coaching and front-office staffs?’
      • ‘From the day that Rupert's name was mentioned in the media, even before our address had become public, I was besieged by journalists from all over the world.’
      • ‘Once the story broke I was absolutely besieged by the media and spent several days recording TV and radio interviews, and speaking to reporters and feature writers on various newspapers and magazines.’
      • ‘A holiday in Peru turns into an endurance test, as a whole sequence of health problems besiege me throughout, and for several weeks thereafter.’
      • ‘‘We were quite literally besieged for about two weeks, with newsmen camped on the doorstep, invading our offices and telephoning at the rate of one a minute,’ he wrote.’
      • ‘We have got babies left on railway platforms, and in drains and garbage bins, and children bitten by dogs and besieged by disease and affliction.’
      • ‘An early morning taxi takes us to the bus station, where I am besieged by beggars.’
      • ‘He had appeared at the exam boards’ news conference and was immediately besieged by journalists who had been unable to find a clear story from the raw statistics and hoped he might provide one.’
      • ‘The production wasn't so much beset as besieged by difficulties.’
      • ‘The couple were again besieged by the media when their split was announced seven years ago.’
      • ‘To add salt to his wounds, he's besieged by 'journalists' interrogating him about his golden handshake and gambling habit.’
      • ‘His latest comments came as he was besieged by journalists after a fringe meeting in Bournemouth, forcing him to take refuge in the party press office.’
      • ‘Carpetbaggers were besieging offices and harassing staff.’
      • ‘His time in Lincoln gave him great pleasure, though he recalls how famine struck the area whilst he was there, and his study was besieged by beggars.’
      surround, mob, crowd round, swarm round, throng round, ring round, encircle
      oppress, torment, torture, rack, plague, afflict, harrow, beset, beleaguer, trouble, bedevil, cause suffering to, prey on, weigh heavily on, lie heavy on, gnaw at, nag at, haunt
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2be besieged Be inundated by large numbers of requests or complaints.
      ‘the television station was besieged with calls’
      • ‘CBS television, which showed the championship game, quickly apologised after being besieged with complaints.’
      • ‘In the late eighties, the television channel was besieged with complaints that its videos were too full of content inappropriate for younger kids.’
      • ‘Helpline workers were besieged with angry calls and hundreds of complaints have been posted on the pilots' own unofficial websites.’
      • ‘Publicans have been besieged with complaints about unpleasant smells in their establishments since the ban on smoking in public places was introduced last month.’
      • ‘This time of the year we are besieged with ills and chills, and tend to feel out-of-sorts and a little run down.’
      • ‘Exiting Customs, we were besieged with guides, all yelling and describing their hotels.’
      • ‘I know you've been besieged with requests and we do appreciate it.’
      • ‘Ayurvedic outlets are being besieged with requests for this mixture of rice gruel and medicinal herbs.’
      • ‘Suddenly my agent in England is besieged with calls.’
      • ‘Angry customers have besieged a postal watchdog with complaints about dumped and missing mail.’
      • ‘The store was besieged with inquiries about it and the short supply we had dwindled and disappeared.’
      • ‘However, the very next day she was besieged with complaints from her disappointed newlyweds, and conceded the great wisdom needed for making a match that leads to a happy marriage.’
      • ‘The New York authorities have been besieged with requests for material salvaged from Ground Zero.’
      • ‘So drivers are increasingly being besieged with mailshots, particularly as their policy comes up for renewal.’
      • ‘We no longer tolerate being besieged with manipulative messages that we don't want to hear and cannot respond to.’
      • ‘The main supermarkets were besieged with people from the moment they opened their doors yesterday.’
      • ‘Makeshift clinics have been besieged with thousands of victims turning up with pneumonia and diarrhoea.’
      • ‘For months, we were besieged with exaggerations, accusations, planted stories, and outright lies.’
      • ‘Every time a D-Day anniversary approaches, he is besieged with requests from journalists and researchers seeking interviews.’
      • ‘With every false start on the long road to peace, economists have been besieged with calls asking whether the latest political move will prove the tonic the economy needs.’
      overwhelm, inundate, deluge, flood, swamp, snow under
      View synonyms


Middle English: alteration (by change of prefix) of assiege, from Old French asegier.