Definition of seize in English:

seize

verb

  • 1with object Take hold of suddenly and forcibly.

    ‘she jumped up and seized his arm’
    ‘he seized hold of the door handle’
    • ‘He quickly seized it with one hand and pointed it at the door.’
    • ‘He quickly seized her wrist and pinned it to her side.’
    • ‘Instead of replying Faith seized her by the hand and began pulling her along.’
    • ‘Jin escaped Vamp's hold, only to be seized by the arms.’
    • ‘The two attendants quickly hurried forward and roughly seized Angel about her arms.’
    • ‘She seized the older boy by the arm and drew him inside.’
    grab, grasp, snatch, seize hold of, grab hold of, take hold of, lay hold of, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, take a grip of, grip, clutch, take, pluck
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    1. 1.1 Take forcible possession of.
      ‘army rebels seized an air force base’
      ‘the current President seized power in a coup’
      • ‘He has admitted he was one of the 32 armed rebels who seized the school last September.’
      • ‘In 1862 he moved to the western theater, leading part of the Union army that seized Corinth, Mississippi.’
      • ‘On Oct.23, 2002, Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theater and held hostages for three days.’
      • ‘Things did turn sour, though, when Chechen rebels seized a Moscow theater.’
      • ‘The government had for days promised an all-out offensive against the rebels who seized half the country after a bloody coup attempt on September 19.’
      • ‘The British army seized New York City in September 1776 and continued to occupy it when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown five years later.’
      • ‘The allies had made several attempts to capture it so they could go on and seize Rome.’
      • ‘He could not seize Rome and secure his logistic base.’
      capture, take, overrun, annex, occupy, take possession of, conquer, take over, subjugate, subject, colonize
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    2. 1.2 (of the police or another authority) take possession of (something) by warrant or legal right.
      ‘police have seized 726 lb of cocaine’
      • ‘Magic mushrooms and cannabis plants were seized by police officers carrying out a drugs raid on a house in Atworth.’
      • ‘Police are examining computer equipment seized during the search.’
      • ‘In 1993, 53.15 tons of cannabis were seized by the government.’
      • ‘Customs officers at Dublin Airport yesterday seized a drugs shipment worth €1.3m which was bound for New York.’
      • ‘Hundreds of miniature lead soldiers seized in a burglary bust are to be reunited with their owner.’
      • ‘A transit van was also seized by officers, who are continuing their investigation.’
      • ‘His captors had sent e-mails to government and news organizations on a computer later seized by the Pakistani police.’
      • ‘He was immediately seized by Canadian immigration authorities and has been held in detention since February.’
      • ‘This is the haul of alcohol seized by police in an undercover operation targeting young drinkers.’
      • ‘An amount of ecstasy tablets were also seized in this raid.’
      • ‘Forensic tests are now being carried out on items seized by police.’
      • ‘Though he intended to crop out all identifying details, the uncropped negatives were seized by the police and leaked to the press, setting off a media firestorm.’
      • ‘Officers believe the amount of cannabis seized by officers will seriously impact supplies throughout south London and beyond.’
      • ‘In addition to the arrests, caches of arms have also been seized.’
      • ‘They also produced receipts which they said identified where all of the items seized by the police had been purchased.’
      • ‘The drugs and property gained from sale of the drugs were seized as evidence.’
      • ‘Drugs worth billions of rands were seized by the police last year, the department of detective services said yesterday.’
      • ‘A large haul of weapons was also seized in the raids.’
      • ‘The problem was that he needed access to funds seized by the police for legal fees.’
      • ‘His right to possession may be suspended or temporarily divested if the goods are seized by the police under lawful authority.’
      confiscate, impound, commandeer, requisition, appropriate, expropriate, take possession of, sequester, sequestrate, take away, take over, take
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  • 2Take (an opportunity) eagerly and decisively.

    ‘he seized his chance to attack as Carr hesitated’
    • ‘Limerick will know that they should have seized the opportunity because the chance was there, playing against a 14-man Kerry team at home.’
    • ‘They were being offered a regular and secure investment opportunity which they seized with alacrity.’
    • ‘This is a momentous opportunity that Indonesia must seize.’
    • ‘She seized the opportunity and there has been no looking back since.’
    • ‘You find the miracles in opportunities seized, in magic believed.’
    • ‘This magnificent opportunity was eagerly seized by modernizing employers.’
    • ‘What unplanned opportunities have you seized, and how?’
    • ‘We must admit that China's decision to seize a business opportunity to promote Chinese language has had good results.’
    • ‘Find opportunities and seize chances to convey the message of Islam to others.’
    • ‘This season, injuries to others gave him his opportunity; he seized his chance with aplomb, and has been clinging to the shirt ever since.’
    • ‘The British National party quickly seized the opportunity to exploit the attack.’
    • ‘This is a conflict that can widen or an opportunity we can seize.’
    • ‘The Government has set targets for reducing CO2 emissions that we will stand no chance of meeting unless we seize opportunities to invest in renewable energy when we can.’
    • ‘Germany seized its opportunity following its victory over France in the 1871 war.’
    • ‘Warner quickly seized the opportunity and immediately signed the prodigious talent.’
    • ‘Cooper writes about post-modern politics as an opportunity we must seize.’
    • ‘This is an opportunity they must seize with both hands.’
    • ‘A decision to seize the opportunity they present could have a major impact on the left internationally.’
    • ‘Logically, one would think that the church would embrace this opportunity and seize the chance to equip the saints for the work of the Kingdom.’
    • ‘She has seized every opportunity during seven years in the Navy, and recently took the position as the top Sailor in her field.’
  • 3(of a feeling or pain) affect (someone) suddenly or acutely.

    ‘he was seized by the most dreadful fear’
    • ‘Fear seized her as she suddenly realized that something was indeed different.’
    • ‘A sudden panic seized her, and Lila hurriedly tripped her way to the glass doors, managing to arrive there just as he was about to walk out.’
    • ‘Panic seized her as Pearl felt herself being led towards the water.’
    • ‘I was sitting at my desk, hunched over a grammar worksheet, when the feeling seized me.’
    • ‘A foreign emotion seized Jason as he watched the scene.’
    • ‘Momentary panic seized him, and he patted urgently at his pockets, discovering with relief that the things he would need were still there.’
    • ‘Rage seized him, filling his throat so that he could not speak.’
    • ‘All the clutter on his desk was spread out in front of me, and a great curiosity seized me.’
    • ‘Panic seized me as I realized Jacob had not been selected.’
    • ‘No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.’
    • ‘I gasp sharply as a sudden pain seizes me around my waist.’
    • ‘He'd never seen, never imagined, the like of this moment, and a vast, inarticulate longing seized him.’
    • ‘I saw them stand up and leave and panic seized me.’
    • ‘Suddenly she was seized with fear, not of death itself, but of what comes after death.’
    • ‘Panic seized me as I realized she might have said her name during one of those auditory lapses.’
    • ‘As the evening comes on, an incomprehensible feeling of disquietude seizes me, just as if night concealed some terrible menace toward me.’
    • ‘Three miles into the journey she was seized with labour pains.’
    • ‘Fury seized John when he learned of Daisy's destination.’
    • ‘She felt an irrational anger seize her at this small disturbance in the palace routine.’
    • ‘For a moment, panic seized her as she stiffened, sitting up abruptly.’
  • 4Strongly appeal to or attract (the imagination or attention)

    ‘the story of the king's escape seized the public imagination’
    • ‘However, this miraculous story seems to have seized the public imagination, earning a few minutes on most evening news programs.’
    • ‘The Republicans won by marshalling the Right and manipulating and controlling words and images - really seizing the public imaginary.’
    • ‘To succeed, the scheme had to seize shoppers' imaginations and change their habits.’
    • ‘Voters will switch off in even bigger numbers: the clash of ideas is what seizes the public imagination, not the comparison of pilot schemes.’
    • ‘Still, there are plenty of poor, mountainous countries where cycling hasn't seized the public imagination.’
    • ‘After years of growing estrangement, cricket recognised its chance to seize the public's imagination.’
    • ‘The prospect of this raft of equity raising has seized and appalled the collective imagination of the City.’
    • ‘The damage is done, though - the public mind seized.’
    • ‘Anderson has deftly avoided falling into a number of traps since she first seized the public's attention.’
    • ‘These numbers are so large that they may escape - rather than seize - the public's attention.’
    • ‘This was not the first time that torture had seized public attention.’
    1. 4.1formal Understand (something) quickly or clearly.
      ‘he always strains to seize the most sombre truths’
      • ‘You are impressed with how nice and friendly the people are and you quickly seize those elements of culture which are similar to your own.’
    2. 4.2be seized of Be aware or informed of.
      ‘the judge was fully seized of the point’
      • ‘One has looked in vain every week in the Craven Herald for some sign that the district council was seized of the need for more parking provision.’
      • ‘Earlier, the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter on the ground that the President was seized of the matter under Article 72 of the Constitution.’
      • ‘We are taking stock of the situation and are seized of the matter.’
      • ‘The Industrial Tribunal is seized of all matters in issue between the parties and is the proper forum.’
      • ‘The former Union health minister had said that the Centre was seized of the issue and had constituted a high-level committee to investigate the lapses in the Vitamin A campaign.’
  • 5no object (of a machine with moving parts) become jammed.

    ‘the engine seized up after only three weeks’
    • ‘There was a sound that Saint Magnum had never heard before, and then his engine suddenly seized up.’
    • ‘The right oil mix must be maintained or the engine will seize.’
    • ‘The mechanisms often seize through lack of use, but with the wiper motor removed - a relatively simple task - it's possible to get to the problem areas and apply penetrating oil.’
    • ‘The engine seized and the car ended up at the scrap yard.’
    • ‘Gifted by the Danish government in 1984, this plant worked for exactly 21 days before its machinery seized up.’
    • ‘There is an amazing footage of Barry stepping off at 170 mph on the banking at Daytona after his engine seizes.’
    • ‘The unit seized up with rattles and clanks, vibrating madly, falling supine upon the ground.’
    • ‘If everyone thinks your ball bearings cause brake linings to seize up, then they do, regardless of what the truth of the matter is.’
    • ‘Yesterday the exhaust fell off my car, today the brakes seized!’
    • ‘The only question was what would happen first, the leaf patch bursting or the engine seizing up?’
    • ‘The engine had indeed seized but things were not as serious as I thought.’
    • ‘Monks can't do this now because the mechanism has seized up.’
    • ‘If I worked on the right hand shock absorber, why call me when the engine seized up on you?’
    • ‘If you run out of oil, the piston cannot move up and down freely in the cylinder, and the engine will seize.’
    • ‘The engine seized up on it, or I never would've sold it to that high-school kid who wanted to fix it up in shop class.’
    stick, become stuck, catch, seize up, become immobilized, become unable to move, become fixed, become wedged, become lodged, become trapped
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  • 6be seized ofEnglish Law
    Be in legal possession of.

    ‘the court is currently seized of custody applications’
    • ‘Subject to these general propositions we must turn to English procedural law in order to determine at what point of time an English Court is seised of the proceedings.’
    • ‘The judge below seems to have tried this claim for all the world as if he were seised of the original action against the insurance brokers.’
    • ‘If the tribunal remains seised of the matter until the actual direction for conditional discharge is given, it seems to us highly desirable that the Tribunal should be able to have regard to relevant fresh material, should there be any.’
    • ‘In my judgment, a court which grants provisional measures is not by virtue of that fact alone definitively seised of jurisdiction on the merits of the dispute.’
    • ‘In the context of whether a court is seised of proceedings for the purposes of Article 21, the question whether those proceedings have been served is not determined by the foreign domestic rules of procedure.’
    1. 6.1historical Have or receive freehold possession of (property)
      ‘any person who is seized of land has a protected interest in that land’
      • ‘Mr Sorrell is currently in possession of the property, and is accordingly presumed to be seised of an estate in fee simple.’
  • 7Nautical
    archaic Fasten or attach (someone or something) to something by binding with turns of rope.

    ‘Jack was seized to the gun and had his two dozen lashes’

Phrases

  • seize the day

    • Make the most of the present moment.

      • ‘For now, though, the self-styled rebels have seized the day, bulldozing over their quieter, more process-oriented neighbors like a defiant road in the wilderness.’
      • ‘They, and the President who leads them, are determined to seize the day.’
      • ‘However, it does reveal the underlying mindset that allowed these budding war criminals to seize the day without any obvious conscience.’
      • ‘In doing so, we need to decisively seize the day, and broaden the agenda.’
      • ‘It is all about application and seizing the day.’
      • ‘Carpe diem - seize the day - became my unspoken motto.’
      • ‘It may turn out that while the big domestic banks are focused on foreign competitors, smaller domestic rivals combining Western best-practices and an intimate understanding of the local market will seize the day.’
      • ‘David Murphy is one who believes that they have to seize the day.’
      • ‘Rather than being bold and seizing the day, we became mired in self-flagellation and uncertainty.’
      • ‘They wanted me to seize the day and live the moment and not play by the rules.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • seize on/upon

    • Take eager advantage of (something)

      ‘any momentary upturn was seized upon as evidence of recovery’
      • ‘Their views have been eagerly seized upon by lovers of conspiracy theories.’
      • ‘Henry Jekyll's own final testament adds one small detail, which has been eagerly seized on by film-makers.’
      • ‘They read voraciously, taking full advantage of educational and creative opportunities and seizing upon the opportunity to perform Shakespeare partly because they consider his words the ultimate challenge.’
      • ‘Even if the society or organisation is going broke, in fact especially if it is, people will find ways of not discussing it, while seizing on minor details.’
      • ‘Yet at the same time any signs of progress are seized upon as evidence of a potential positive outcome.’
      • ‘Biologists were quick to seize upon this as the longed-for evidence of natural selection in action.’
      • ‘Subtle advantages such as those are seized upon when resources are so conspicuously lacking.’
      • ‘The U.S. will eagerly seize on any gesture of cooperation from the Germans.’
      • ‘Democrats are seizing upon this as evidence that the party needs to find candidates and campaign language that appeal to religiously motivated voters.’
      • ‘As a number of Irish brokerage firms gear up to roll out internet trading, some investors will no doubt eagerly seize on the opportunity to have almost instant access to the stock market.’
      • ‘United also seized upon that advantage to exert almost complete dominance of the match and finish the half well on top, and looking like they were going to run out easy winners.’
      • ‘We should not imitate that by seizing on bad metaphysics as an excuse for ignoring valid scientific observations.’
      • ‘So who exactly was it who ‘jumped the gun’ and showed credulity in seizing upon a fanciful story to promote their position?’
      • ‘In Washington, that would undoubtedly have been seized on as evidence of a calculated personality cult.’
      grasp, grasp with both hands, grab, grab at, leap at, snatch, jump at, pounce on, exploit
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French seizir ‘give seisin’, from medieval Latin sacire, in the phrase ad proprium sacire ‘claim as one's own’, from a Germanic base meaning ‘procedure’.

Pronunciation

seize

/siːz/