Definition of seize in US English:

seize

verb

  • 1with object Take hold of suddenly and forcibly.

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

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

    ‘he was seized by the most dreadful fear’
    • ‘She felt an irrational anger seize her at this small disturbance in the palace routine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Panic seized me as I realized she might have said her name during one of those auditory lapses.’
    • ‘Panic seized her as Pearl felt herself being led towards the water.’
    • ‘I gasp sharply as a sudden pain seizes me around my waist.’
    • ‘Fear seized her as she suddenly realized that something was indeed different.’
    • ‘I saw them stand up and leave and panic seized me.’
    • ‘For a moment, panic seized her as she stiffened, sitting up abruptly.’
    • ‘I was sitting at my desk, hunched over a grammar worksheet, when the feeling seized me.’
    • ‘All the clutter on his desk was spread out in front of me, and a great curiosity seized me.’
    • ‘No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.’
    • ‘Suddenly she was seized with fear, not of death itself, but of what comes after death.’
    • ‘He'd never seen, never imagined, the like of this moment, and a vast, inarticulate longing seized him.’
    • ‘Momentary panic seized him, and he patted urgently at his pockets, discovering with relief that the things he would need were still there.’
    • ‘Fury seized John when he learned of Daisy's destination.’
    • ‘A foreign emotion seized Jason as he watched the scene.’
    • ‘Panic seized me as I realized Jacob had not been selected.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rage seized him, filling his throat so that he could not speak.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘After years of growing estrangement, cricket recognised its chance to seize the public's imagination.’
    • ‘To succeed, the scheme had to seize shoppers' imaginations and change their habits.’
    • ‘The Republicans won by marshalling the Right and manipulating and controlling words and images - really seizing the public imaginary.’
    • ‘This was not the first time that torture had seized public attention.’
    • ‘Still, there are plenty of poor, mountainous countries where cycling hasn't seized the public imagination.’
    • ‘Anderson has deftly avoided falling into a number of traps since she first seized the public's attention.’
    • ‘Voters will switch off in even bigger numbers: the clash of ideas is what seizes the public imagination, not the comparison of pilot schemes.’
    • ‘The prospect of this raft of equity raising has seized and appalled the collective imagination of the City.’
    • ‘These numbers are so large that they may escape - rather than seize - the public's attention.’
    • ‘The damage is done, though - the public mind seized.’
    1. 4.1formal Understand (something) quickly or clearly.
      ‘he always strains to seize the most somber 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. 4.2 Be aware or informed of.
      ‘the judge was fully seized of the point’
      • ‘The Industrial Tribunal is seized of all matters in issue between the parties and is the proper forum.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 5no object (of a machine with moving parts or a moving part in a machine) become stuck or jammed.

    ‘the engine seized up after only three weeks’
    • ‘The engine seized and the car ended up at the scrap yard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The unit seized up with rattles and clanks, vibrating madly, falling supine upon the ground.’
    • ‘If you run out of oil, the piston cannot move up and down freely in the cylinder, and the engine will seize.’
    • ‘The right oil mix must be maintained or the engine will seize.’
    • ‘The only question was what would happen first, the leaf patch bursting or the engine seizing up?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If everyone thinks your ball bearings cause brake linings to seize up, then they do, regardless of what the truth of the matter is.’
    • ‘The engine had indeed seized but things were not as serious as I thought.’
    • ‘Yesterday the exhaust fell off my car, today the brakes seized!’
    • ‘There is an amazing footage of Barry stepping off at 170 mph on the banking at Daytona after his engine seizes.’
    • ‘If I worked on the right hand shock absorber, why call me when the engine seized up on you?’
    • ‘Gifted by the Danish government in 1984, this plant worked for exactly 21 days before its machinery seized up.’
    • ‘There was a sound that Saint Magnum had never heard before, and then his engine suddenly seized up.’
    • ‘Monks can't do this now because the mechanism has seized up.’
    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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

Phrases

  • seize the day

    • Make the most of the present moment.

      • ‘They wanted me to seize the day and live the moment and not play by the rules.’
      • ‘In doing so, we need to decisively seize the day, and broaden the agenda.’
      • ‘Rather than being bold and seizing the day, we became mired in self-flagellation and uncertainty.’
      • ‘It is all about application and seizing the day.’
      • ‘Carpe diem - seize the day - became my unspoken motto.’
      • ‘However, it does reveal the underlying mindset that allowed these budding war criminals to seize the day without any obvious conscience.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘David Murphy is one who believes that they have to seize the day.’
      • ‘They, and the President who leads them, are determined to seize the day.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • seize on/upon

    • Take eager advantage of (something); exploit for one's own purposes.

      ‘the government has eagerly seized on the evidence to deny any link between deprivation and crime’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So who exactly was it who ‘jumped the gun’ and showed credulity in seizing upon a fanciful story to promote their position?’
      • ‘Henry Jekyll's own final testament adds one small detail, which has been eagerly seized on by film-makers.’
      • ‘Yet at the same time any signs of progress are seized upon as evidence of a potential positive outcome.’
      • ‘In Washington, that would undoubtedly have been seized on as evidence of a calculated personality cult.’
      • ‘Biologists were quick to seize upon this as the longed-for evidence of natural selection in action.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We should not imitate that by seizing on bad metaphysics as an excuse for ignoring valid scientific observations.’
      • ‘Their views have been eagerly seized upon by lovers of conspiracy theories.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Subtle advantages such as those are seized upon when resources are so conspicuously lacking.’
      grasp, grasp with both hands, grab, grab at, leap at, snatch, jump at, pounce on, exploit
      View synonyms

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

/sēz//siz/